New NFL Directive: Players Must Stand for National Anthem or stay in locker room

This spring NFL owners approved a new policy aimed at cracking down on players who won’t show respect during the playing of the National Anthem before the game begins. Players who won’t stand are allowed to stay in the locker room. Players who will can stand on the field. The new policy is unanimous among the owners, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced.

The players were not part of the discussions. Any violations of the policy will result in fines against the team, not individual players.

Goodell said:

“We want people to be respectful of the national anthem. We want people to stand. That’s all personnel, and to make sure they treat this moment in a respectful fashion. That’s something that we think we owe. We’ve been very sensitive on making sure that we give players choices, but we do believe that moment is an important moment and one that we are going to focus on.”

He announced an official statement on social media:

In response, the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) said it will challenge any part of the new policy that violates its collective bargaining agreement.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began publicly protesting against “police brutality against black people” by kneeling during the national anthem in 2016. Other players followed his example. Since Kaepernick’s contract ended he has not been hired by any other team; the same for his former teammate, safety Eric Reid. Both have filed collusion grievances against the NFL.

The players don’t approve of the policy. The NFLPA said in a statement:

“The NFL chose to not consult the union in the development of this new ‘policy.’ NFL players have shown their patriotism through their social activism, their community service, in support of our military and law enforcement and yes, through their protests to raise awareness about the issues they care about.”

“The vote by NFL club CEOs today contradicts the statements made to our player leadership by Commissioner Roger Goodell and the Chairman of the NFL’s Management Council John Mara (co-owner of the New York Giants) about the principles, values and patriotism of our League.”

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