The NFL owners decided Wednesday to an outright, leaguewide ban on kneeling during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Players are not required to leave their respective locker rooms during the playing of the national anthem.
What led up to this decision?
According to a Sports Illustrated report Tuesday, one idea floated by club owners included a 15-yard penalty for any player who engaged in kneeling during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” during NFL games.
“Per sources, one anthem idea being discussed: Leaving it up to home team on whether teams come out for the anthem; if teams do come out for the anthem, potential that teams could be assessed 15-yard penalties for kneeling,” senior NFL reporter Albert Breer wrote on Twitter.
Breer later tweeted that the league did not reach a conclusion to the discussion on how to handle national anthem kneeling.
“Source says NFL owners have not yet reached a resolution on national anthem policy. This source does not expect a resolution today,” he wrote.
Per sources, one anthem idea being discussed: Leaving it up to home team on whether teams come out for the anthem; if teams do come out for the anthem, potential that teams could be assessed 15-yard penalties for kneeling.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) May 22, 2018
Source says NFL owners have not yet reached a resolution on national anthem policy. This source does not expect a resolution today.
— MarkMaske (@MarkMaske) May 22, 2018
The league made its determination Wednesday on what would happen to national anthem kneelers.
So what are the details of the new policy?
The New York Times reported that NFL teams will be fined if their players kneel during the national anthem if they’re on the field or sidelines at the time.
In a statement, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that club owners all voted to fine teams if their players refused to stand for the playing of the national anthem while on the field in any proximity.
Players, however, have the choice to remain inside the locker room during the playing of the national anthem.
“This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem,” Goodell said in a statement. “Personnel who choose not to stand for the anthem may stay in the locker room until after the anthem has been performed.”
Goodell’s statement added that the policy was “approved in concert with the NFL’s ongoing commitment to local communities and our country.”
“It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic,” the statement added. “This is not and was never the case.”
Goodell’s statement concluded, “We believe today’s decision will keep our focus on the game and the extraordinary athletes who play it — and on our fans who enjoy it.”
According to the Times report, “The new policy was adopted at the league’s spring meeting in Atlanta without involvement from the players’ union. It is unclear how players will respond to the new rules.”