ATLANTA (AP) — The NFL has muddled a divisive issue even more by announcing that players will be required to stand for the national anthem if they’re on the field before games.
The league’s new policy has stirred up defenders of free speech, prompted a couple of owners to quickly backtrack and raised all sorts of potential questions heading into next season.
Players have the option of staying in the locker room if they want to carry on the Colin Kaepernick-inspired campaign against police brutality and social injustice. Commissioner Roger Goodell calls it a compromise that respected the wishes of everyone, from those who consider “The Star-Spangled Banner” a sacred part of the American experience to those who believe the right to protest during the anthem is also in the best tradition of a free but imperfect society.
Yet, it was clear to everyone that the owners wanted to quell a firestorm by moving any further protests away from the public eye.