National Football League mandates anthem respect: Stand up, or stay in the locker room

NFL Adopts New Anthem Policy to Quell Player Protests

Stand or stay out of sight.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, center, is flanked by Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II, left, and Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill during a news conference where he announced that NFL team owners have reached agreement on a new league policy that requires players to stand for the national anthem or remain in the locker room, during the NFL owner's spring meeting Wednesday, May 23, 2018, in Atlanta. Roughly 8 in 10 (81 percent) said it's never appropriate to burn the American flag, for instance and 84 percent said the same about blocking cars from driving on roads or highways.

The revision aimed at ending the anthem controversy from recent seasons was unanimously approved by the 32 National Football League owners but did not include support from the players' association. The teams also have the power to impose fines on the players who take a knee.

"Management has chosen to quash the same freedom of speech that protects someone who wants to salute the flag in an effort to prevent someone who does not wish to do so", Smith wrote on Twitter. I don't know that it's a problem solver.

So, what happens to a player who decides to keep kneeling during "The Star-Spangled Banner?". That includes any attempt to sit or kneel, as many players have done during the past two seasons to protest racial inequality and police brutality.

He says he'll support the players "wherever we land as a team". At the end of the day, they call the shots, make the rules, so that's what we have to abide by.

Bethea discounted the notion that this was a compromise by the NFL.

Trump turned the debate into a campaign issue, saying the National Football League should fire any player who takes a knee during "The Star-Spangled Banner". So it's really not a compromise.

"We think that we've come up with a balanced process, procedure and policy that will allow those players who feel they can't stand for the anthem to stay in the locker room", the commissioner said. It's going to be something guys are going to have to deal with.

The NFL Players Association said it will challenge any part of the new policy that violates the collective bargaining agreement. He wouldn't say if any other owners declined to vote.

Jets acting owner and chairman Christopher Johnson has, however, already publicly stated that he would pay the fine for any of his players who kneel during the national anthem next season.

Guard Ramon Foster, the team's player representative, said players will have little choice but to follow the new guidelines. "I would assume like anything else they are going to have their rules and their regulations, if you don't follow it you don't get to participate or you got fined", Joey Smith said.

Clearly, Goodell and most owners just want to put the divisive issue behind them. However, Johnson joined his team on the field where they interlocked arms during the National Anthem. "We want people to stand". He said individual teams will develop its own rules for dealing with personnel who do not stand during the anthem. "We must continue to work together in creative and dynamic ways to make our communities stronger and better with equal opportunities for all".

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and others drew praise and ignited fury through a series of protests during the national anthem starting in 2016. Because they apparently took unilateral action on this front, it should not be surprising that Long is far from the only player upset by this action.

"I'm not sure that's the case for everybody in this country and that's something that I would encourage people to think about and realize that these players taking a knee are doing so with their careers - something that they worked their whole life to build - putting those careers in jeopardy".

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