NFL owners have finally decided on an anthem policy: one that is sure to continue to be polarizing as the league gears up for another season. Without consulting any players or the player’s union, the decision was that players can stay in the locker room while the anthem is being played but should they go onto the field, they must stand.
Predictably, the reason was mixed.
The decision was announced Wednesday by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during the league’s spring meeting in Atlanta.
In a sign that players were not part of the discussions, any violations of the policy would result in fines against the team — not the players. The NFL Players Association said it will challenge any part of the new policy that violates the collective bargaining agreement.
The owners spent several hours addressing the contentious issue — which has reached all the way to the White House.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016, a quiet but powerful protest against police brutality and racial inequities in the justice system.
Other players took up the cause.
Arizona Cardinals safety Antoine Bethea says the NFL’s new national anthem policy is “not really a compromise,” as touted by the league.