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NFL to Require Players to Stand for the National Anthem or Stay Off the Field


NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Wednesday that the league will require players and personnel to stand for the national anthem. Anyone who won’t will stay in the locker room or somewhere else off the field during the performance. Teams will get fined if anyone remains on the field but doesn’t stand for the song. The owners unanimously agreed to this policy.

“We want people to be respectful of the national anthem,” Goodell said at a press conference. “We want people to stand.”

This moves comes after two seasons in which some players knelt during the national anthem, generally meant to criticize police brutality against people of color.

This came to a head last season, when President Donald Trump criticized the practice during a rally in Alabama, and collectively called players who knelt “son of a bitch.” He said owners should fire them. The following Sunday, however, players on teams like the Baltimore Ravens pointedly took a knee during the anthem.

Instead of getting rid of players, however, the league is now using other kinds of leverage of make sure people on the field unanimously stand.

The pre-season is scheduled to start in August, so it’ll be a few months before we see how this policy works in practice. Those few months might be critical because the players’ union could seek to oppose it. They said they are none-too-pleased with Goodell’s new announcement. They’ll review the policy, and will challenge it if any aspect violates the collective bargaining agreement, they said.

[Image via NFL Network screengrab]

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