New NFL rules: teams face fines if players kneel during national anthem

Casey Dawson
May 25, 2018

Ashley Johnson of Elliott said, "If they are willing to stand up and say, 'I don't want to stand during the national anthem".

It went on: "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".

"We want people to be respectful to the National Anthem", said Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner.

In the end, the owners sent a bit of a convoluted message - appeasing those who feel the national anthem must be treated with reverence, while allowing some sort of conduit for players to protest as long as they stay out of the public eye. But the policy gives individual clubs the power to discipline players who do not stand for the anthem. They approved a rule that forces the players to stand for the national anthem.

"I agree with people needing to respect the flag, but right now not everyone has their liberty and equality so I think they have the right to protest and if they don't you're taking away their first amendment", Leah Nichols of Mt. Laurel, NJ, said. "We will continue to work closely with our players to constructively advance social justice issues that are important to us", Johnson said.

"I'm glad they came to an agreement in some form or another", Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott said Wednesday following organized team activities at The Star. "If the team gets fined, that's just something I'll have to bear". "And I think we've done a good piece of that so far".

Colin Kaepernick has been unable to find another job in the NFL after his contract expired with the San Francisco 49ers
GETTY IMAGES Colin Kaepernick has been unable to find another job in the NFL after his contract expired with the San Francisco 49ers

"If the team says 'this is what we're doing, ' and ownership (does too), you either deal with it or you're probably going to get cut", Pittsburgh Steelers guard Ramon Foster said.

If a player does not stand for the anthem, they can be subject to a fine. According to an audio recording obtained by The New York Times, players wanted to talk about Kaepernick's case, while owners were more concerned about how to avoid negative publicity around the issue of kneeling during the anthem.

Whether they support the policy or not, most fans think it will accomplish the NFL's goal of focusing on football. The changes were met quickly with approval from Vice President Mike Pence and skepticism from the NFL Players Association, which said it was not consulted on the changes. "If somebody takes a knee, that fine will be borne by the organization, by me, not the players".

The NFL voted on a rule that affects the all players in the NFL regarding the national anthem. Still, the dollar amount of favorable press Kraft received from his co-signing of prison reform likely dwarfed the $1 million Kraft donated to the inauguration of Donald Trump, but is probably not as much as the cash he allegedly has stored Bermuda tax havens. And free speech, and oppression. "I don't think that's appropriate".

- What is your reaction to the N.F.L.'s new rules about players kneeling for the anthem? You can just wait inside, but I respect the guys that want to stand up or stay inside for their rights.

Eva Bledsoe agreed with the new policy but said, "I don't know if it's too late".

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