SCHUYLKILL COUNTY, Pa. -- The NFL issued a new policy Wednesday ordering all players who are on the field during the national anthem to stand.
Anthem protests have been a thorn in the side for the league ever since then 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started sitting during the anthem in 2016.
After more than three hours of discussions, all 32 NFL team owners voted on a new policy to put an end to the protests.
Over the past two seasons, players kneeling during the national anthem has been a hotly debated and controversial topic for the NFL, and the league has received plenty of backlashes.
"If you can't stand for the national anthem then I think that you're in the wrong country," said Jesse Shalters of Gratz.
The on-field protests, aimed at bringing light to racial inequality and police brutality, could now be coming to an end. During the league's spring meetings, all 32 NFL team owners unanimously approved a new national anthem policy that will require players to stand for the anthem if they are on the field during the performance. The policy does give players the option to stay in the locker room if they choose.
The new policy also subjects teams to a fine if a player or team employee sits or kneels during the anthem.
"We want people to be respectful to the national anthem. We want people to stand. That's all personnel, and make sure that they treat this moment in a respectful fashion," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Newswatch 16 spoke to two military veterans in Schuylkill County. Both say anthem protests didn't keep them from watching games, but they admitted they were disappointed in the players' choices.
"I thought it was disgraceful that they should do this to throw mud on people who fought and died for this country," said William Bubeck, an Air Force veteran from Cressona.
"I am a fan of all the football players on all the teams, but when it's not showing respect for the flag, it does give me a down look on them," said Joel Eifert, an Army veteran from North Manheim Township.
Earlier this week, the league finalized an $89 million social justice platform with NFL players to address some of the issues that were included with the national anthem protests.