NFL Will Fine Teams Whose Players Kneel For National Anthem

Chris Long Malcolm Jenkins

Eagles’ Malcolm Jenkins Chris Long Slam NFL Anthem Decision The Associated Press 23 May 2018

NFL teams will set their own rules regarding players who want to kneel during the National Anthem, NFL team owners decided Wednesday in Atlanta.

A league spokesman told ESPN "the only formal rule regarding the anthem is that it must be played before games, be it the US or Canadian version or both, depending on the teams involved".

If a player chooses to protest on the sideline, the player's team could potentially fine him and the league could fine the team, Battista reported.

League commissioner Roger Goodell may also "impose appropriate discipline on league personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem", according to the policy.

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The NFL Players Association issued a statement in response to the new policy.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said last season that he would bench any Cowboys player who refused to stand for the anthem.

The kneeling protest was started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016 as a way to protest police brutality, racial injustice and social inequality.

Heading into this week's league meetings in Atlanta, one of the biggest questions was how, if at all, the NFL would attempt to address players protesting during the national anthem. However, a team will be fined if personnel is on the field and "do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem". Most notably, Trump helped spark a near league-wide protest one week when he slammed the players at a September rally in Alabama.

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Intentional or not, PBS White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor - and others - said the policy gives Trump and Pence exactly what they've been wanting since staging their own protests over players' protests, all while upstaging some of the words of the national anthem. But judging from the initial reactions, the National Football League hasn't yet found a policy to please everyone.

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color", he said in late August 2016.

While Kaepernick was out of the league in 2017, protests of a similar nature became more common across the NFL, with players including Michael Bennett and Marshawn Lynch taking part.

The change will remove existing regulations that require all footballers to be on the field for the anthem.

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The new guidelines were detailed on Wednesday, in a statement from Commissioner Roger Goodell. "The march of players, officials and children into our stadiums and singing of the anthem has been a pre-match tradition since our first game in 1996. And I think the more that we can get that message out and understand what they're fighting for and why they're fighting for it, the easier that it's gonna be to make progress". "This is not and was never the case". He refused to stand for the anthem in protest of the treatment of African-Americans in the U.S. Kaepernick was out of the league last season and he and Reid have pending grievances accusing the league and teams of colluding to keep them unsigned.

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