NFL owners met for hours yesterday in an attempt to come up with a new national anthem policy. Currently, the league policy states that players “should” stand for the anthem but does not require them to do so, which has paved the way for players to kneel during the anthem as a way to raise awareness for social inequality.
The issue came to the forefront last season after President Trump voiced his outrage over players kneeling during the anthem, and now the league is searching for a solution before the start of the 2018 season. ESPN reports that some owners want to require players to stand for the anthem, while others do not.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says the number one goal is to appease football fans.
“I’m not trying to diminish issues of our rights here,” Jones said, per ESPN. “But the No. 1 thing here is our fans. And I know our fans want us to zero in on the game, zero in on football. They want to come to the game and get away from a lot of the other issues that are out there.”
“One thing that is certainly from my standpoint is I’m trying to figure out the very best way for when somebody thinks ‘NFL,’ they think about who is starting at quarterback and who is going to come out hot in the third quarter. We’ve got to make sure that whatever we decide here, it’s oriented toward getting their minds on what’s going on on the football field.”
Among the possibilities discussed, according to ESPN, were:
Allow each team to implement its own policy.
Clear the field of all football personnel while the anthem is played.
Instruct players who don’t want to stand to remain in the locker room while the anthem is played.
Impose penalties on teams and players who do not stand, including a 15-yard penalty and/or fines.
Add contract language that requires players to stand.
Leave the current policy in place.
The Washington Post reports that NFL owners are leaning towards a policy that would give individual teams the authority to set their own anthem-related rules and would permit players to remain in the locker room during the playing of the anthem. The owners are scheduled to continue the discussion today, with hopes of a resolution by day’s end.