After months of careful behind-the-scenes posturing and negotiating, the National Football League has agreed to a new policy regarding the national anthem. All players and personnel on the field must stand and “show respect” for the anthem. Those who choose not to stand must stay in the locker room or in a similar location off the field.
The code of conduct was adopted at the league meetings currently being held in Atlanta, in response to take-a-knee protests that began with former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Commissioner Roger Goodell outlined the new agreement as follows:
“The 32-member clubs of the National Football League have reaffirmed their strong commitment to work alongside our players to strengthen our communities and advance social justice. The unique platform that we have created is unprecedented in its scope, and will provide extraordinary resources in support of programs to promote positive social change in our communities.
The membership also strongly believes that:
- All team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.
- The Game Operations Manual will be revised to remove the requirement that all players be on the field for the Anthem.
- 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.
- 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.
- Each club may develop its own work rules, consistent with the above principles, regarding its personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.
- The Commissioner will impose appropriate discipline on league personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.”