Colin Kaepernick
via Mike Morbeck / CC-BY-2.0

Following the controversy surrounding players opting to kneel during the national anthem over the past two seasons, the NFL has officially passed a new policy that will require all teams to stand.

According to USA Today, the league has passed a revised policy that will mandate players and team personnel present on the sideline to “stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean players have to stand though. For those who do not wish to stand, they must remain in the locker room during the “National Anthem”. But essentially, any player or team staff present on the sideline who doesn’t stand could be fined.

Also, under the new policy, each franchise can implement their own policies, which could include fines for players who protest the anthem as well.

During a news conference, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the new agreement was reached unanimously by owners at recent league meeting in Atlanta. Jed York of the 49ers said his team abstained though.

“We want people to be respectful to the national anthem,” Goodell said in a news conference. “We want people to stand. That’s all personnel, and make sure they treat this moment in a respectful fashion. That’s something we think we owe. We have been very sensitive in making sure we give players choices, but we do believe that that moment is important and one we are going to focus on.”

Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the moment during the 2016 NFL preseason, when he refused to stand during the Anthem, which he later said was a form of protest against police brutality and racial inequality. After, a number of players followed in his footsteps… causing nationwide debate.