ATLANTA — NFL owners have approved a new policy aimed at addressing the firestorm over national anthem protests, permitting players to stay in the locker room during the “The Star-Spangled Banner” but requiring them to stand if they come to the field.
The decision was announced Wednesday by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during the league’s spring meeting in Atlanta.
In a sign that players were not part of the discussions, any violations of the policy would result in fines against the team — not the players. The NFL Players Association said it wasn’t consulted about the new policy and would challenge any changes that violate the collective bargaining agreement.
The owners spent several hours addressing the contentious issue — which has reached all the way to the White House. President Donald Trump was extremely critical of players who didn’t stand during the National Anthem. The president also criticized the NFL for allowing players to kneel during the anthem.
Nobody cares. The President makes a couple of tweets and the NFL owners quiver in their boots. Trump owns them pic.twitter.com/XofcNug4Cg
— briley (@69_firebird) May 15, 2018
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016, a quiet but powerful protest against police brutality and racial inequities in the justice system.
Other players took up the cause.