NFL: All Team and League Personnel on Field Shall Stand and Show Respect for Flag and Anthem

NFL team owners decided Wednesday, May 23, 2018 that players must stand during the National Anthem starting this upcoming 2018-2019 season. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said during a news conference at the NFL meeting in Atlanta that NFL teams whose players and personnel do not stand and show respect for the flag and the national anthem will be fined by the league.

Each team may develop its own work rules regarding players or personnel who do not comply with the policy, which could include fines. The new NFL policy, which was approved unanimously by team owners, does give players the option to remain in the locker room during the playing of the anthem if they do not wish to comply with the new NFL policy.

With this change, the NFL’s game operations manual will be revised to remove the requirement that all players be on the field for the anthem. Previously, there were no specific rules that prevented players from protesting in a public display.

“We want people to be respectful to the National Anthem,” Goodell said. “We want people to stand, that’s all personnel, and make sure that they treat this moment in a respectful fashion that’s something I think we owe. We’ve been very sensitive in making sure that we give players choices, but we do believe that that moment is an important moment and one that we are going to focus on.”

From the NFL …
The new NFL policy is a reaction to backlash against people who took a knee or remained seated, saying their protest was a symbolic opposition to oppression of people of color, and a backlash to protests that symbolized actions against people that perceived police-involved brutality and discrimination.

The policy adopted today was approved in concert with the NFL’s ongoing commitment to local communities and our country — one that is extraordinary in its scope, resources, and alignment with our players. We are dedicated to continuing our collaboration with players to advance the goals of justice and fairness in all corners of our society.

The efforts by many of our players sparked awareness and action around issues of social justice that must be addressed. The platform that we have created together is certainly unique in professional sports and quite likely in American business. We are honored to work with our players to drive progress.

It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic. This is not and was never the case.

This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem. Personnel who choose not to stand for the anthem may stay in the locker room until after the anthem has been performed.

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.

POLICY STATEMENT

The 32 member clubs of the National Football League have reaffirmed their strong commitment to work alongside our players to strengthen our communities and advance social justice. The unique platform that we have created is unprecedented in its scope, and will provide extraordinary resources in support of programs to promote positive social change in our communities.

The membership also strongly believes that:

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.









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