Atlanta, GA – NFL owners have approved a new policy aimed at addressing the firestorm over national anthem protests, permitting players to stay in the locker room during the “The Star-Spangled Banner” but requiring them to stand if they come to the field.
It is an issue that was felt in Baltimore. The Ravens were booed in their home stadium at the October 1st game against the Steelers. Players kneeled prior to the national anthem to show, what was described as a “sign of unity,” in reaction to comments made by President Donald Trump.
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.
(the Associated Press contributed to this post)