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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
HomeNewsSportsStand or Stay: NFL Adopts New Policy for National Anthem Protests

Stand or Stay: NFL Adopts New Policy for National Anthem Protests

Colin Kaepernick, left, takes a knee while, Alejandro Villanueva, right, stands for the national anthem before NFL game.
Colin Kaepernick, left, takes a knee while, Alejandro Villanueva, right, stands for the national anthem before NFL game.

Colin Kaepernick, left, takes a knee while, Alejandro Villanueva, right, stands for the national anthem before NFL game.

The National Football League (NFL) will allow players and personnel to stay in the locker room until after the national anthem, but those on-field “shall stand” or be fined.

“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,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement.

“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.”

The NFL is now headed into its third season plagued by anthem protests, which started during the preseason of 2016. Then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first sat, then knelt, during the playing of the national anthem.

Since Kaepernick, hundreds of players and personnel across the NFL have either sat, knelt, or raised a “black power” fist during the national anthem. The protests reached their zenith during Week 3 of the 2017 season, right after President Donald Trump ripped protesters at a political rally in Alabama.

He called the players “SOB’s,” and said he wished team owners would fire them. Hundreds of players, coaches, and executives protested and criticized the president’s remarks. But the vast majority of the American people were on President Trump’s side and it badly hurt their brand and viewership.

A Rasmussen Reports survey conducted in February found that 37% of American adults watched fewer NFL games during the season because of the on-field player protests. The PPD/Big Data Poll also mirrored those results.

Source: People's Pundit Daily Big Data Poll (PPD Poll).

Source: People’s Pundit Daily Big Data Poll (PPD Poll).

Sporting News reported ratings for Week 6 were down nearly 9% over the 2016 season with only 15,026,000 viewers (-8.2%). Viewership fell almost 19% from the 2015 season, down from the 18,485,000 viewers from 2 years ago (-18.7%).

Albert Breer at Sports Illustrated found the NFL was not only losing their national audience but also their local markets.

“Twenty-five of 31 teams (excluding the Chargers, because of the move) are drawing lower local numbers than they did in 2016,” he wrote. “Nineteen have dropped 5 percent or more, including brand name teams like the Cowboys (7 percent drop), Patriots (8 percent) and Steelers (6 percent), and both New York clubs (the Giants are down 7 percent, the Jets are down 37 percent). Conversely, only three teams (Chiefs, Bucs, Lions) have improved by more than 5 percent.”

Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid— who are credited with being the first two to start the protests — are now free agents. They filed separate lawsuits against the NFL claiming owners colluded with each other to keep them off of the field and a team because of backlash to the protests.

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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Latest comments

  • Soon to read, NFL adopts new policy of no tackling. Must grab flag within target zone bubble or face 15 yard penalty.

  • Nah, to late I’m kinda done with the @NFL. Could care a less.

  • Is that all the flag is worth? A penalty??? Who are they trying to fool – again!?!

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