The NFL released a statement outlining a new anthem policy agreed to in a unanimous vote of league owners at this week’s meetings in Atlanta.
The policy calls for everyone on the field for the song to “stand and show respect,” but allows for players and other personnel to remain off the field if they choose. It also calls for the league to fine teams whose personnel do not “stand and show respect” and allows teams to set their own “work rules” for players who do not stand for the song.
After the NFL released its statement, the NFLPA responded with one of its own.
“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.”
At a brief press conference after the release of the statement, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said there was “incredible engagement” with players about the anthem issue and said any response to the union would come in direct conversation with them. He was also asked who would be the arbiter of what it means to “show respect” and said the “general public has a very good feel” for what that is without delving into a detailed discussion of what that might mean beyond kneeling.