Controversy surrounding the protest of NFL players isn’t quite over yet. On Wednesday (May 23), NFL owners agreed on a new policy that could fine teams who allow their players to protest. The change will go into effect in time for the upcoming football season.
Along with possibly being fined, the new policy also requires players who want to take a stand for inequality to do so in the quiet confines of the locker room, since players aren’t obligated to be on the field during the playing of the national anthem anymore, according to the NFL. It also gives individual teams the liberty to enforce their own policies for players who choose to protest during the anthem, including enforcing disciplinary action.
“This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a statement to the Washington Post. “We believe today’s decision will keep our focus on the game and the extraordinary athletes who play it—and on our fans who enjoy it.”
Though Goodell wishes every “team personnel” stand for the anthem, the Post said owners decided not to make it a requirement in this policy rework, as not enough owners supported the idea.
All of this was kicked off when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem in 2016. To this day, he still isn’t signed to a team.