New York, NY – The National Football League (NFL) has announced the adoption of a new policy that will fine teams and league personnel who do not “stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem,” FOX News reported.
As recently as Wednesday morning, the teams were still in discussions about whether to apply a 15-yard penalty against a team if someone did not stand for the anthem.
“A club will be fined by the League if its personnel are on the field and do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem,” the new policy specifically stated.
The new policy included the edict that “all team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.”
The policy also clarified that “personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room or in a similar location off the field until after the Anthem has been performed.”
The NFL’s owners have been working furiously to stop the free-fall of football viewership in the United States that started when players, began kneeling in protest during the playing of the National Anthem at the beginning of games.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement midday on Wednesday that said “it was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic. This is not and was never the case.”
“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,” Goodell’s statement concluded.
Despite the endless stroking of player egos in the newly-written policy, the player’s union has complained that they were not consulted.
"The NFL chose to not consult the union in the development of this new 'policy.' NFL players have shown their patriotism through their social activism, their community service, in support of our military and law enforcement and yes, through their protests to raise awareness about the issues they care about," the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.
The NFLPA said they would review the new policy but held firm that the owner’s vote on it "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."
Kaepernick started kneeling on the field during the National Anthem in the pre-season of 2016, protesting the flag over allegations that American police officers are racist killers.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder,” Kaepernick said at the time.
Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers after the 2016 season and sat out the 2017 NFL season when no other teams signed him.
His teammate Eric Reid was a vocal supporter of the anthem protests. Reid also didn't sign again with the 49ers, and became a free agent.
Both players have since been unemployed and have filed a lawsuit against the NFL alleging a conspiracy to keep them out of the game in retaliation for the upheaval caused by the kneeling.