By Nick Baum
THURSDAY – 5/24/18
NFL owners voted to officially ban kneeling for the national anthem, a move that will take place next season, after players from almost every team took a knee to protest violence in America. The act of doing so was started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who took a knee to protest violence against blacks.
In the new ruling, all players on the field have to stand for the anthem, or show “proper respect” to the flag and country. If there is failure to do so, the team gets fined by the league, and a fifteen yard penalty is gained at the start of the game. However, players can choose to stay in locker rooms or other places off the field if they don’t want to stand, bringing back the protest that the Pittsburgh Steelers did, having every player but one wait in the locker room as the national anthem played. The only player out on the field was Alejandro Villanueva, a former Army Ranger and served in Afghanistan, but said later tat he “regretted it”.
The decision has already met fierce criticism, as many players have voiced their opposition to the ruling, saying that they are entitled to at under the first amendment. As of now, players can still protest during the national anthem, but by staying in the locker room instead.
Sources: Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, CNN, NFL, NFLPA