NFL owners have voted to pass a new policy regarding demonstrations during the national anthem. On Wednesday, commissioner Roger Goodell announced that teams – not players – will be fined for signs of “disrespect” during the anthem. Meanwhile, players will be permitted to stay in the locker room during the anthem if they choose to do so.
Here, in full, is the league’s breakdown of its new rules, which were passed via unanimous vote:
1. All team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.
2. The Game Operations Manual will be revised to remove the requirement that all players be on the field for the Anthem.
3. Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room or in a similar location off the field until after the Anthem has been performed.
4. A club will be fined by the League if its personnel are on the field and do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.
5. Each club may develop its own work rules, consistent with the above principles, regarding its personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.
6. The Commissioner will impose appropriate discipline on league personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.
Goodell, for his part, is hopeful that the new policy will help to fix things from a public relations perspective.
“It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic,” Goodell said in his statement. “This is not and was never the case.”
The new policy will shift the onus of anthem rule enforcement and player discipline from the league office to individual teams. However, the new policy is unlikely to satisfy the players, who were not involved in the crafting of the new policy.
“Maybe this new rule proposal that is being voted on is a “compromise” between the NFL office and club CEOs on various sides of the issue,” NFLPA executive George Atallah wrote on Twitter, “But certainly not with player leadership; we weren’t there or part of the discussions.”
The union released a statement shortly after Goodell’s press conference which hints at a forthcoming grievance:
“The NFL chose to not consult the union in the development of this new “policy.” NFL players have shown their patriotism through their social activism, their community service, in support of our military and law enforcement and yes, through their protests to raise awareness about the issues they care about.
The vote by NFL club CEOs today contradicts the statements made to our player leadership by Commissioner Roger Goodell and the Chairman of the NFL’s Management Council John Mara about the principles, values and patriotism of our League.
Our union will review the new “policy” and challenge any aspect of it that is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement.”
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.