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NFL Won't Stand for Players Not Standing During National Anthem

The NFL has formally announced that it will fine teams if players kneel during the National Anthem.

In a post on its official Twitter account, the NFL shared the official statement from Commissioner Roger Goodell, which outlines the details of the new rule.

“This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem,” Goodell said in the statement. “Personnel who choose not to stand for the anthem may stay in the locker room until after the anthem has been performed.”

“It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of N.F.L. players were unpatriotic,” Goodell added. “This is not and was never the case.”

The new policy is as follows:

  • 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.

Players taking a knee has been a hot button issue ever since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the National Anthem in 2016 to protest police brutality and racism in America.

Many have publicly shared their personal feelings on the kneeling protest, including former Dallas Cowboys star Herschel Walker, who is not a fan of the protests, and initially pointed his finger at Goodell for not doing something to stop them.

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"I absolutely think the protests are so upsetting, and I blame the commissioner," the former Heisman Trophy winner told reporters. "I know people are going to be angry when I say it, but he should have stopped the protests at the very beginning."

While he was critical of the protest itself, he did express understanding of its foundation.

"Guys, let me tell you this. Our flag is very special, and black lives matter, but what we should do is go to Washington after the season and protest there instead," the 55-year-old added. "We have young men and women fighting for the flag. And we have to respect the White House."