New NFL policy requires players on the field to stand, 'show respect,' for flag, anthem
The National Football League approved a new policy Wednesday that will require "team and league personnel on the field" during games to "stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem."
However, the game operations manual will be revised to remove the requirement that all players actually be on the field during the anthem, making it so those who choose not to stand may stay in the locker room or another of-field location until after the Anthem has been performed.
Teams 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 states, and each club may develop its own set of rules, consistent with the new guidelines regarding those who do not stand for the Anthem.
"The efforts by many of our players sparked awareness and action around issues of social justice that must be addressed," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "The platform that we have created together is certainly unique in professional sports and quite likely in American business. We are honored to work with our players to drive progress."
"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."