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NFL bans kneeling during national anthem

Some members of the San Francisco 49ers kneel during the National Anthem before a game against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field on October 15, 2017 in Landover, Maryland. (Keith Allison/Flickr)
May 23, 2018

The National Football League (NFL) has banned players from kneeling on-field during the national anthem, it was announced Wednesday.

NFL owners approved a new policy that allows players to stay in the locker room if they want to during the national anthem, but if they are on the field, the players must stand and show “respect for the flag and the Anthem.”

There will be fines issued to teams if players violate the new policy and kneel on the field or on the sidelines.

It was reported Tuesday that NFL owners were considering a 15-yard penalty if players kneeled on-field during the national anthem.

NFL team owners gathered to discuss various subjects on Tuesday, which included a penalty for kneeling, Sports Illustrated first reported.

One proposal was that the home team would decide whether or not teams would come out of the locker rooms for the national anthem, and if any players kneeled outside during the anthem, a 15-yard penalty could be assessed, according to Sports Illustrated.

The news comes in the wake of a huge controversy last year that rocked the NFL and football fans, after players began kneeling during the national anthem.

There were several weeks of football games throughout the 2017 season where hundreds of players took a knee or sat down in protest during the national anthem.

This was started by football player Colin Kaepernick in 2016 to protest what he believes to be problems in America, namely police brutality and black inequality. Kaepernick was not signed by a professional football team last year and is currently suing the NFL. Kaepernick and another unsigned free agent, Eric Reid, are alleging that NFL teams are colluding to keep them unemployed, SI reported.

The kneeling protests took on a whole new meaning after President Donald Trump said players should stand during the anthem or be “fired.”

Trump called on players to stand and show respect to the anthem and flag. Otherwise, if any player kneeled during the national anthem, then that team’s owner should “fire that son of a b*tch.”

Trump had also tweeted: “Ratings for NFL football are way down except before game starts, when people tune in to see whether or not our country will be disrespected.”

“The NFL has all sorts of rules and regulations. The only way out for them is to set a rule that you can’t kneel during our national anthem,” Trump had also tweeted.

The NFL Players Association has come out and said that they players are within their rights to do so, per the First Amendment and freedom of speech.