NFL National Anthem Policy: Players & Personnel Must Stand
Today (Wednesday), the NFL passed a revised policy that mandates players and team personnel present on the sideline “shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.” This of course comes as the result of several protests during the playing of the national anthem over the past two years.
The revision does allow players who do not wish to stand to remain in the locker room. According to USA Today, also under the revision, each franchise will have the power to issue and enforce their individual policies, which could include fines for players protesting the anthem, under the conduct detrimental provision of the league’s personal conduct policy.
In addition, the league also has the power to fine any franchise in the NFL that has players and/or team personnel who do not stand or "show respect" when on the sideline during the national anthem.
NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, had the following to say in a news conference:
"We want people to be respectful to the national anthem,” Goodell said in a news conference. “We want people to stand. That’s all personnel, and make sure they treat this moment in a respectful fashion. That’s something we think we owe. We have been very sensitive in making sure we give players choices, but we do believe that that moment is important and one we are going to focus on.”
After reading Goodell's comments I, personally am saddened even further that two years later the on-field protests has led many to think that the players who participated are unpatriotic. The point has and continues to be missed, unfortunately.
However, it seems that The National Football League of Players Association gets it. The NFLPA took to twitter and gave their view on the league's decision:
The new policy reads in full below:
The 32 member clubs of the National Football League have reaffirmed their strong commitment to work alongside our players to strengthen our communities and advance social justice. The unique platform that we have created is unprecedented in its scope, and will provide extraordinary resources in support of programs to promote positive social change in our communities.
The membership also strongly believes that:
1. All team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.
2. The Game Operations Manual will be revised to remove the requirement that all players be on the field for the Anthem.
3. Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room or in a similar location off the field until after the Anthem has been performed.
4. A club will be fined by the League if its personnel are on the field and do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.
5. Each club may develop its own work rules, consistent with the above principles, regarding its personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.
6. The Commissioner will impose appropriate discipline on league personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.