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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Breaking News: NFL Takes a Stand on National Anthem Protests

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NFL's new policy on national anthem: Players, teams can be fined if they don't stand

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ATLANTA – The NFL has an official rule against kneeling during the national anthem.

Following a year of hand-wringing and disagreement inside the league’s ownership ranks, team owners approved a new measure on Wednesday that gives players the option of staying in the locker room during the national anthem if they don’t wish to stand during the ceremonies. Under the new rule, players who choose to be on the field during the anthem will be required to stand. If a player or team employee is on the field during the anthem and chooses not to stand, that player’s franchise will be fined by the NFL. In turn, players and employees who choose to attend the anthem ceremonies but do not stand will also be eligible for a fine by their franchise, if the team chooses to levy one.

The league’s official statement on the policy change said, “The Commissioner will impose appropriate discipline on league personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.”

This effectively draws the line in the sand that President Donald Trump has been prodding the NFL to take for nearly nine months – including a consistent round of political attacks during the 2017 season that dogged the league’s owners. It was during those nine months that the NFL’s owners engaged in an internal debate over how to handle social protests within the game, and most especially during the national anthem.

Owners were fractured on the topic through the set of owners meetings in March, when the league pinpointed this month’s Atlanta meetings for a resolution that would attempt to resolve protests during the anthem, which some players had used to draw attention to social justice and racial inequality in their communities.