NFL bans players from kneeling during national anthem



Buffalo Bills players kneel during the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

Melanie Lust '19, Editor In Chief

Melanie Lust ’19


The National Football League officially prohibited football players from kneeling during the national anthem. The the long-awaited policy announcement, unanimously approved by NFL owners with one abstention, reads that “all team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem,” according to its website. Any player in violation of this policy will be subject to a fine.


Several teams and players have begun to challenge the ban, including the New York Jets, who have stated they will not discourage players from protesting during the anthem.


President Trump, however, has praised the decision, saying that players “have to stand proudly for the flag or maybe…[they] shouldn’t be in the country,” according to the B.B.C.


NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also defended the decision. “We want people to be respectful of the national anthem,” he said in an ESPN report. “We want people to stand and make sure they treat this moment in a respectful fashion.”


The policy revises a previous rule that all players have to be on the field for the duration of the national anthem. Now, players who do not wish to be present for the anthem may remain in the locker room. The decision comes in light of controversy surrounding players who have kneeled to draw attention to African American deaths at the hands of police.


National discussion over the changes has reflected itself in the Staples community.


Madison Tirado ’19 believes the NFL’s mission is misguided. “I don’t agree with it because it just takes away these [players’] right to start a protest and express themselves the best way that they thought it was necessary to,” he said.


Others feel that establishing a ban was necessary in order to maintain reverence for military sacrifice. “If their boss says they can’t do something, then they shouldn’t do it,” Coach Petroccio, former football coach, said. “There are many people who have died in this country for that flag, and we should show respect. And kneeling, to me, is not respectful.”