New England Patriots

The NFL will adopt a new policy regarding player and team behavior during pre-game performances of the national anthem. Commissioner Roger Goodell has released a statement confirming the new rules at the spring league meeting in Atlanta.

“The 32 member clubs of the National Football League have reaffirmed their strong commitment to work alongside our players to strengthen our communities and advance social justice,” Goodell’s statement reads. “The unique platform that we have created is unprecedented in its scope, and will provide extraordinary resources in support of programs to promote positive social change in our communities.”

As far as the national anthem, the statement outlined rule changes to go into effect for the 2018 season. Players and team personnel who are on the field for the anthem will be required to “stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem,” and clubs will be subject to fines if anyone on the field violates that rule.

However, players will no longer be required to be on the field during the anthem – so anyone who chooses to protest may do so in the locker room, or “in a similar location off the field” until after the anthem is finished.

Dec 3, 2017, Orchard Park, NY, USA: Members of the New England Patriots stand for the national anthem prior to a game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. (Photo Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)

Dec 3, 2017, Orchard Park, NY, USA: Members of the New England Patriots stand for the national anthem prior to a game against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. (Photo Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)

In addition, teams will be free to create their own internal rules regarding those who don’t stand for the anthem, provided they stay consistent with league guidelines. If any league personnel break any of the new rules, Goodell would be free to impose his own discipline.

Shortly after the announcement, the NFLPA tweeted its own statement saying the league never consulted them on the rule change and that they plan on contesting any aspects of it that would violate the collective bargaining agreement.

You can read Goodell’s full statement at NFL.com.

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