NFL owners have approved a new national anthem policy on Wednesday which makes it mandatory for the players to stand if they are on the field during performance. The policy also mentions that the players have the option of remaining in the locker room during the playing of the anthem if they prefer to do so.
The new policy also makes way for the provision of subjecting teams to a fine if the players of the team show disrespect for the anthem. Sitting or kneeling during the playing of the anthem, as some players have done in the past, will also invite action and fine.
Teams will also have the authority to enforce the law on players for standing for the national anthem.
"This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room until after the Anthem has been performed," he added.
The commissioner also said that the decision will keep everyone's focus on the game and called the athletes who play the game extraordinary. He also implied that the decision will help to keep focus on the fans.
In a vote take took place at the end of the league's spring meetings, all the 32 owners approved the policy.
The league's game operational manual has been modified to take out the requirement that all players should be on the field at the time of playing of the national anthem. And makes it possible for players who wish not to stand for the anthem to be in the locker room or a "similar locatio" off the field, till the completion of the playing of the national anthem.
The previous policy made it compulsory for the players to be present on the ground while the playing of the national anthem but only advised that the players "should" stand when the anthem is played.