National Football League orders players to stand for anthem or stay in locker room

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Among them was Trump, who declared last September on Twitter, "Sports fans should never condone players that do not stand proud for their National Anthem or their Country".

The league's new policy gives players the option of going to the locker room during the anthem.

"I think our clubs all see this the same way - we want our players to stand, we're going to encourage them to stand and we're going to continue to work on these issues in the community", Goodell said. "This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem", he said.

"The team is focused on working with players to advance social justice issues rather than creating club rules that restrict demonstrations", Johnson told Newsday. At every NFL game, the American national anthem is played and all team staff and game attendees are expected to stand. "We're not forcing anybody to stand who doesn't feel that that's within the way they feel about particular subjects".

The chairman said that if his team faces fines in the coming season, "that's just something I'll have to bear".

Steelers guard Ramon Foster shrugged his shoulders when asked about the new policy, saying the owners will always hold an upper hand over the players.

"If the team says, 'This is what we're doing, ' and ownership (also does), you either deal with it or you're probably going to get cut", Foster said. "We'd like for all of them to be on the field and stand at attention".

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The fact that Johnson will pay any fines out of his own pocket and not sanction any players who may want to demonstrate during the anthem made it more palatable that he join his fellow owners in approving the anthem protocol.

Clearly, Goodell and most owners just want to put the divisive issue behind them.

"It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of National Football League players were unpatriotic", Goodell said. "And that's a moment that we want to make sure is done in a very respectful fashion".

The anthem controversy began in 2016 when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started kneeling on the sideline as a way to protest racial injustice and police brutality against minorities. The issue was amplified in 2017 after President Trump called on team owners to fire kneeling players. As I have in the past, I will support our players wherever we land as a team.

"I know there's some discussion of keeping players off the field until after the anthem", he said during an owner's meeting in March. "The NFL did more damage than good when it came to this whole policy". President Donald Trump has heavily criticized the protests.

The anthem protests started to fizzle late in the recent season when the National Football League said it would donate $89 million over seven years to social justice causes. "And I think this policy attempts to come out in a place where we respected everybody's point of view in this as best we could". "I don't understand, I really don't understand it", said Woody.

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