NFL players are now required to stand and “show respect for the flag” per a new policy adopted by the NFL on Wednesday. The new policy was enacted after TV ratings and ticket sales plunged when multiple NFL players refused to stand during the National Anthem last season.
In 2016, former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began protesting the flag — which he called a symbolism of oppression of black people in America.
After public backlash, Kaepernick got off the bench and kneeled on the sidelines. A few players joined him there, but the protest didn’t become a movement in the NFL until 2017, when President Donald Trump criticized Kaepernick and others for kneeling during the anthem.
According to the NY Daily News, players will have two options: stay in the locker room during the National Anthem or stand “and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.”
Team owners will be fined an unspecified amount if players defy the new policy and bring attention to themselves by kneeling on the sidelines.
The new rule will take effect at the start of the 2018-19 NFL season.