NFL Owners Say Players Must Stand for National Anthem

ATLANTA — NFL players this season must stand during the National Anthem, team owners decided Wednesday in Atlanta, a reaction to fierce backlash against some who took a knee in symbolic opposition to the systemic oppression of people of color, including by police.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said during a news conference that team owners unanimously agreed that the NFL can fine a team whose players protest on the sidelines during the National Anthem but that each team will set will its own rules regarding players who want to kneel. Players will not be fined individually by the league and will have the option to remain in the locker room while the anthem is played.

Previously, there had been no rule that prevented players from protesting.

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

The NFL Players Association, which was not included in the talks with owners, said the union will review the new policy “and challenge any aspect of it that is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement.” Owners discussed the topic for two hours on Tuesday and one hour Wednesday, Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said.

“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 about the principles, values and patriotism of our League,” the association said in a statement.

The move by owners stems from the silent protests that began in 2016, when then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the anthem to draw attention to injustice.

It also brought the wrath of President Donald Trump, who in 2017 said players’ kneeling showed “total disrespect for our great country.”

In recent months, the league has worked toward a reported $90 million social justice partnership with the Players Coalition, using the NFL’s platform to highlight players’ efforts to curb injustice and to use political connections to push for legislative change.

The conversations in Atlanta came as two free-agent players, Kaepernick and Eric Reid, have filed separate grievances against the league, citing collusion in denying them jobs. Kaepernick and Reid both kneeled during the National Anthem when they were 49ers teammates, and Reid continued his protest last season. Kaepernick has been a free agent since March 2017.

8 comments

  • john williams

    too late, i dont waste my time watching anymore. because, it really doesnt matter, does it? does it effect your live over all what team wins and loses? ( unless you wager, that is)

  • AMJoy Fan

    Well this just prove the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s point that NFL owners have a “plantation mentality”! How dare they restrict the free speech of the athletes who are fellow Americans. They are simply protesting the racism and lack of social justice in this country during a song written by one of the biggest bigots of all time, Francis Scott Key!

    • Silverfish Imperetrix

      That’s funny. I just researched Key and found out he had 7 slaves, set them free, and one even stayed on as his employee and foreman of his farm. He also took slaves’ cases pro bono and was a vociferous champion against slavery. So where does being ‘one of the biggest bigots of all time” come in?

      • AMJoy Fan

        Well if you had done you research you would find the California NAACP has studied on this topic and it was published in the Nov 8 2017 issue of Newsweek. There have also been number of pieces on the well respected Huffington Post that came to the same conclusion. Next!

      • Silverfish Imperetrix

        I didn’t have to research much that the date of that Newsweek article coincides with the time the kneeling began. The leftist commies decided to smear (their favorite tactic) Key as a racist (their favorite word) instead of addressing the real issue – that BLM was founded on a lie, and the overpaid bozos in the NFL thought they could jump on the bandwagon at the games (national TV…great platform, huh?) and keep the fires of racism stoked. It didn’t turn out the way they planned and it’s far from over. Wait until this coming season.

  • Silverfish Imperetrix

    Their revenue must be way down. Regardless, it’s too little too late, although it is another win for President Trump and patriotic Americans! I hope even more join the boycott this coming season and bring them to their knees (heh).

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