NFL Considering Leaving Anthem Policies Up To Teams?

The latest news out of the league’s effort regarding the player protest movement may be a solution that shifts the decisions about whether or not players are required to stand during the playing of the national anthem up to the teams rather than implementing a leaguewide policy, Mark Maske of the Washington Post reports.

Owners are considering going forward with an approach that would leave these decisions up to the 32 franchises, with Maske reporting not enough support among owners appears to exist for a policy that will require players to stand during the anthem.

Set to meet from May 21-23 in Atlanta, the owners are considering this as well as other solutions. Maske reports the pre-2009 policy of keeping players in their respective locker rooms is on the table, as is a more hardline approach of requiring players to either stand for the anthem or remain in the locker room during its playing.

While some owners — most notably Jerry Jones and Bob McNair — have come out against the inequality-based protests, Maske writes that others are opposed to forcing players to stand.

Roger Goodell is also not believed to be prepared to support a decision forcing players to stand, which may open the door to this team-by-team policy becoming the preferred solution at this point. Some around the league said, via Maske, Goodell’s involvement in the 2017 deal between players and owners that allocated funds to player-supported community causes will make it unlikely he’ll support any policy that requires players to stand.

My guess is they will leave it up to the teams,” a high-ranking official with one team said, via Maske.

The NFL’s current policy encourages players to stand for the anthem but doesn’t require it. Jones said last season he would bench players who chose to protest, and the Texans owner said in March NFL fields are “not the place for political statements.” President Donald Trump has consistently weighed in on this issue, most infamously at a speech last year that induced hundreds of players to kneel during anthems in Week 3 of last season, and has communicated with Jones regarding it. The president’s involvement has come up in both grievances from Eric Reid and Colin Kaepernick, and a New York Times-obtained recording of last fall’s players-owners summit produced audio of owners expressing concern about the president’s attacks on the league.

Yahoo’s Charles Robinson reported last month that Jones will attempt to push through a measure that will require players to stand, but as of now, it doesn’t seem like the Cowboys owner has enough support here. No vote on this issue occurred at the league meetings in March.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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65 comments on “NFL Considering Leaving Anthem Policies Up To Teams?

  1. Yeti

    Moving back to the pre-2009 policy (players in the locker room during the anthem) would be the smartest thing the league ever decided to do. Obviously, they won’t do what’s best/smartest, they will do whatever the old geezers decide is best for everyone else. As if they have any moral authority whatsoever or that their moral authority made any modicum of difference in the world.

    • Dodgethis

      Their authority is they own the teams and run the league, and ultimately can do whatever they want. They don’t have to care about your moral compass, as long as enough people show up to games that they make money. I’m not sure why you think you are the decider of moral authority or a decider of, well anything really. If you dont like the way the geezers run their league, watch the league run by children… oh right.

      • Yeti

        Definitely, if you can’t make a real argument, make things personal. That’ll really win it for ya.

        • cka2nd

          “Their authority is they own the teams and run the league, and ultimately can do whatever they want.”

          Within the law and the collective bargaining agreement.

          Which folks like you always seem to forget, until it’s a player who wants to restructure a contract.

    • CubsRule08

      I agree with you. Leave the players in the locker room during the anthem and problem solved

  2. sportsfan101

    Funny no other sport has these issues.. yet all play the national anthem and all players stand for it… NFL sorry you have so many dbags in your league vs other sports

    • dorfmac

      Yeah, taking a position on behalf of people who don’t have a platform themselves is the definition of spoiled.

      • sithdude

        The players are paid to play not protest political views. The armed forces pays millions to the NFL to broadcast the national anthem and patriotic events. The players who choose to kneel disrespect our armed forces, the USA, and what they don’t seem to understand a vast majority of the fan base. My personal reaction to what you say is a platform is it makes me angry and not care at all to whatever they are protesting any given week when they disrespect our real heroes, the men and women, past and present, protecting our families. They could use their personal platforms such as twitter, Facebook, interviews, etc and no issue at all. Free speech, express yourself, and be open to debate and not demands. But please in 2018 allow us die hard football fans to enjoy a game without politics and start each one off honoring our great country’s hero’s!

        • tsolid

          BLAH BLAH BLAH!!! Let us know when players start protesting DURING games then you might have a point. From what I’ve seen, they do get paid to play and that’s what they do. Nice try though

        • Marcell24

          Sith just because the armed forces spend millions to broadcast the national anthem doesn’t mean the players are being disrespectful. This has nothing to with the armed forces. That’s a lame excuse. This is everyone’s America and we will make our statements when everyone is watching the most. Why stand for a country that tries to suppress you??

          • sithdude

            The country is not trying to suppress me. The armed forces pays to show tribute to our flag and country. If you can’t understand it is disrespectful to our military hero’s of the past, present, and future I don’t know what else to say. It really is that simple. I go to and watch many baseball games and don’t see any of this going on. I respect your statement it’s everyone’s America, I agree you’re right on that, but you are not in the majority with your political position on this and that is the problem the players don’t understand. It’s just the wrong way to go about whatever they are trying to say and achieve when its polarizing to the fan base. Why turn people against you? How about instead of being divisive, talk about what the protest is about on sports shows, interviews, etc?

            • cka2nd

              The armed forces pay for the anthem to be played, sithdude, to (a) help get them new recruits, (b) keep a segment of the public on their side when budget time comes around in Washington (700+ billion dollars in the new budget, folks!), and (c) keep Americans distracted from the crimes that their military commit in their name, from assisting Saudi Arabia (biggest funders of Islamic terrorism in the world) with their blockade of Yemen (starvation and cholera, woo hoo!), to occupying a portion of Syria (a sovereign country with an internationally recognized government), to torturing prisoners and bombing weddings and murdering American citizens (and their American citizen children) absent any legal proceeding or judgment against said citizen.

              They could get rid of the whole kit and kaboodle tomorrow aside from the Coast Guard and the world, and America, would be a safer place.

        • baltbirds7

          Exactly. Football is a game. It’s not politics. They are disrespecting the flag, the country, and all those who have, are, and will sacrifice their lives to defend it.

          • I give no fox

            That is your opinion and not fact…several military service people have come out in support of the protests. What about fans who don’t stand, or are in line buying concessions, or in the bathroom taking a dump during the anthem? Are they disrespecting the flag, country, and military?

            • baltbirds7

              Well duh no. That’s not their choice if they are buying food during it. But hey. At least they are standing. Better than the millionaire game players

          • Marcell24

            They aren’t disrespecting them at all. The protest has nothing to do with them. Is has to do with America. How is that hard to comprehend?

            • baltbirds7

              How is it hard to comprehend that no matter what you say you are protesting, not standing for the anthem is disrespectful to the flag, the country, and those who protect us

        • I give no fox

          So because someone paid millions of dollars to force this thing down your throat in a place where it has no real bearing, everyone should just “respect” it? I bet you watch all the commercials too, don’t you dare disrespect Ford by changing the channel or fast forwarding!

      • eaterofbirds

        all day this…

        It was about making a stand against the violent and lethal response and against the desparity against African Americans in general…but you know…them there “patriots” turned it into their own narrative.

        Sure, like any of these protests…their message gets blurred sometimes and often times highjacked by other entities, but the message was pretty clear from day one: stop killing or using excessive for on minorities…and it comes from the top on down.

        There never was a “post racial murica”, just a bunch of cowards hiding in shame until they felt empowered by racists at the top…billionaires, heads of office, leaders…are frightened to death of brown people.

        • sithdude

          Thank you for answering my question. I think there a few bad apples in all groups including police assuming that’s what you’re referring to. There’s allot of anger and emotion in you’re response. I’m not afraid of what you refer to as brown people nor am I a racist. But can you see at all how polarizing and divisive you’re position is when connected to standing to honor our military? If it does not unite people for your cause and does the opposite by opposing you is it the right message to send? The issue on my side is only our flag and military being disrespected. I don’t think any civil American would be against prosecuting any law breaking police officers and protecting all American’s rights. But again this is a game and not a political platform. The commissioner needs to fix this and not pass the buck to the teams to decide. Anyways thank you again for answering my question.

  3. cleve1969

    Seems as though the NFL and it’s so-called Commissioner has “no balls” to take a stand … one way or the other

  4. ayrbhoy

    I love attending soccer matches in the UK- no national anthems no politics just a love of their team and the game. 80,000 fans singing passionate songs about the team and the city they love. Wish we could do away with national anthems at sporting events in this country. Really don’t see the point

    • crosseyedlemon

      Not a soccer fan but even a casual observer can’t help but be moved when they hear those 80,000 singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. Excellent comment.

      • ayrbhoy

        And hopefully the Reds supporters will be singing that on the streets of Kiev long into the night of May 25. Here’s a link to my fave teams supporters singing one of their songs before playing their crosstown rivals-gives me goosebumps every time! link to

      • ayrbhoy

        I assume your comment is tongue in cheek. You might know that In the 1990’s the UK made drastic changes to combat hooliganism. CCTV cameras at the parks, in the streets, banning alcohol at the stadium taking away the standing only terraces inside the stadiums. Life time bans for trouble makers caught on video. All of these measures have turned SPL and EPL matches into largely family events. It’s Eastern Europe and in Rome where you’ll find the animals posing as football fans

      • ayrbhoy

        Much RESPECT. My Grandfather fought in WWII alongside the legendary Ghurkas. Imagine starting a sporting event in this country w the 30 sec intro to Van Halen’s running w the devil or any song that gets you fired up. Be a whole different experience

  5. tharrie0820

    1) Why the question mark in the title? Are you unsure if they’re considering it or not? 2) Bet the owners aren’t happy about the possibility of the decision being theirs

  6. slpdajab55

    How about if you don’t stand , get the heck out of the league. This is America , if you don’t like it – leave.

    • braves cowboys

      You misspelled, “Merica” in your last comment. Other acceptable spellings are- “Merrica,” and “Murrica.”

      • cka2nd

        To slpdajab55 and emt126, um, because it’s my f****** country, too, and I’d like to try to change things here, if you don’t f****** mind. But, if YOU want to live in a country where everyone MUST stand for the national anthem or some pledge of allegiance, please feel free to move to North Korea. I’m sure they’d love to have you.

          • dorfmac

            This is America, where there is a freedom to protest. If you don’t like those American ideals, maybe you’re the one that needs to find a new safe space elsewhere.

  7. emt126

    I did not watch a single game last year, not even Super Bowl. Die hard fan for 40 years, it killed me. If they kneel again, I am done for good. I am a Vet and retired firefighter. The national anthem has zero to do with the cause. The cause that was so important that Kaepernick was too lazy to even vote.

    • tsolid

      You REALLY showed the NFL, didn’t you?? You feel better by announcing to a bunch of strangers online that you didn’t watch the NFL?? I hope so

      • cka2nd

        With all due respect to your service as a firefighter and the sacrifice you made serving in the military, if you can’t watch the game, don’t watch the game. And please remember to never call anyone else a “snowflake” for doing something in response to their hurt feelings, because than you could be accused of hypocrisy.

        Kaepernick wasn’t lazy when he didn’t vote. He in fact spelled out WHY he didn’t vote, especially given what he thought of both Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton:

        “‘I think it would be hypocritical of me to vote,’ Kaepernick said. ‘I’d said from the beginning I was against oppression, I was against a system of oppression. I’m not going to show support for that system. And, to me, the oppressor isn’t going to allow you to vote your way out of your oppression.’

        “‘I mean, you have Hillary who’s called black teens or black kids super-predators.’

        “‘You have Donald Trump who’s openly racist.’

        “‘I mean, we have a presidential candidate who’s deleted emails and done things illegally and is a presidential candidate. That doesn’t make sense to me, because if that was any other person, you’d be in prison.'”

        Hilary Clinton ldidn’t lose the election because 40% of eligible voters are lazy. She lost the election because she didn’t give enough Democratic voters or voters who lean Democratic a compelling reason to vote for her, period.

        Oh, and by the way, to some other commentator, yeah, boy, Kaepernick, he’s a real ignoramus.

    • dorfmac

      I do not appreciate your service because obviously you didn’t serve to uphold the freedoms and ideals that our country stands for. Your service is a fraud, as are you.

  8. baltbirds7

    I don’t care what you think you are protesting. Taking a knee/locking arms/ sitting/ staying in the locker room is absolutely obscene. Just cause these guys get paid millions of dollars to play a stupid game they think they have the right to do anything. “Oh the President is being rude to these players? Oh no! They have it so hard. Let’s all stand up for them.” I agree that unity is good. This country can only stand through unity. But those players that have been “insulted?” Oh boy wow their lives are hard. How about you help them out on social media or comfort them in person. Instead of disrespecting those who really have it hard. Those people who are literally dying to give these overpaid men a chance to play out there in freedom. These players have a chance to make a huge impact on the next generation of Americans. Kids watch their heroes play and want to be just like them. So the impression you’re leaving on these kids is to disrespect the true heroes of the country? To slander the symbol of freedom? Is that how we want this country to grow? Because it won’t. If people do t respect the flag and what it stands for this country is doomed. Let’s go back to football being an escape from the mess of politics. Not a platform for it.

    • cka2nd

      I assume that you were equally offended when a member of the Super Bowl-winning Baltimore Ravens refused to attend their reception at the White House because the president at the time supported legal abortion.

      By the way, many of the players HAVE had hard lives, harder than most of us writing comments on this site, I would guess, and the vast majority of them have worked very hard to earn those millions. A lot of them also do charity work and give back to the community, including, I might add, Kaepernick. And even if they didn’t, the first amendment recognizes their right to criticize their country and to not worship the flag as some kind of icon. As for kneeling during the anthem, let’s see how that plays out in court and collective bargaining.

      “Let’s go back to football being an escape from the mess of politics. Not a platform for it.”

      Professional sports have replaced religion as “the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.”

  9. Ironman_4life

    Nothing screams unity like watching half the team standing in half the team kneeling.

  10. Plus3

    Go to work tomorrow, in your employer’s building, in your employer’s uniform, in front of your employer’s customers… and tell them you’re going to protest whatever cause you see fit.

    Do it, I double dog dare ya! See what happens.

    Shame on Goodell, no balls.

    • tsolid

      Go to work play the national Anthem, you and your employers try and MAKE people stand up, and see what happens. I double dog dare you and your employers. You see what happens.

      • Ironman_4life

        This entire political discussion is 100% opinion and it’s going nowhere

        • Ironman_4life

          Commonsense has to step in sometime. The person that is signing your paycheck has a right to tell you how to behave. Simple.

          • tsolid

            If The person that signs your paycheck tells you to drop to your knees and open wide, will you behave? That’s why the have LAWS protecting worker’s rights. Guess you didn’t know that, huh?

            • Ironman_4life

              I’m probably not the best example to use here because my jobs a little bit different but I work for a county fire department. Every year I’m required to sign a code of conduct that says I will not do anything out of protocol nor will i do anything that is inconsistent with departmental policy. Are you implyng that I can go to work without wearing my uniform one day? I think theres a difference in performing a sex act and being asked not to create unnecessary drama. Please respond with an educated comment and not something self opinionated.

              • cka2nd

                Bosses do demand that their workers work in unsafe working conditions every day, and they often withhold wages, or engage in collusion to lower wages and keep employees from actually taking advantage of the free market for their labor. And some bosses do extort sex from some of their employees. That’s why we have unions and labor laws, not that the bosses are happy with either and don’t do their best to get rid of both.

                But what workers have to realize is that they are NOT serfs or slaves, and should not act as such. A lot of these arguments that “you have to do what the boss tells you to do” are basically calls in support of “wage slavery,” the idea that employers can treat you like a slave simply because they are paying you for your labor.

    • driftcat28

      Shame on you for thinking these players don’t have a right to a peaceful protest

  11. Plus3

    Wage slavery argument?

    Lol really? That’s the stupidest thing I’ve read on the internet all year (and it’s only May)

    This is the NFL, the biggest sports league in the world, and the country that gave these players the opportunity to play a game and make millions. Disrespecting the anthem is disrespecting that. Because the US sucks soooo bad compared to other countries… smh

    • Ironman_4life

      That’s what happens when you argue with people who live off the government…

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