NFL owners buckled down at the annual Spring League Meeting in Atlanta on Wednesday to tackle the important issues — like what players can and can’t do during the pregame national anthem.
The league’s owners have unanimously approved a new, league-wide national anthem policy, commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed in a statement.
Here are the four main takeaways:
1. All players and team personnel must stand during the national anthem if they’re on the field and “show respect for the flag and the Anthem.”
2. Players and personnel can choose to remain in the locker room during the anthem if they prefer.
3. Individual teams, not players, will be fined if their personnel don’t “stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem” while on the field.
4. Teams can develop their own policies regarding the anthem and can fine players and personnel individually if they wish.
The new policy is intended as a “compromise” after then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started a movement in 2016 of players sitting or kneeling during the anthem to protest social injustice in America. Those protests were met with intense backlash from those who believe the players are disrespecting the military and even drew the ire of President Donald Trump.
Of course, the updated policy still doesn’t allow for visible player protests, as they’ll now be required by consequence of discipline to either stand for the anthem or remain out of sight in the locker room.
The NFL Players’ Association released a statement Wednesday condemning the new policy, calling it a contradiction of the league’s supposed values.
Thumbnail photo via Chuck Cook/USA TODAY Sports Images