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ATLANTA - Update 4:52 p.m. ET: U.S. vice president Mike Pence has responded to the NFL decision on Twitter, using the hashtag #winning.
Update 1:21 p.m. ET: The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) issued a statement on the new NFL policy:
“The NFL chose to not consult the union in the development of this new “policy.” NFL players have shown their patriotism through their social activism, their community service, in support of our military and law enforcement and yes, through their protests to raise awareness about the issues they care about.
“The vote by NFL club CEOs today contradicts the statements made to our player leadership by Commissioner Roger Goodell and the Chairman of the NFL’s Management Council John Mara about the principals, values and patriotism of our League.
Our union will review the new “policy” and challenge any aspect of it that is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement.”
Original story: NFL owners approved a new policy Wednesday regarding players who wish to kneel during the national anthem, according to a statement by the National Football League.
According to the NFL, individual teams will have the ability to fine players and other personnel who do not stand and, “show respect for the flag and the Anthem.”
The change will go into effect for the upcoming season, according to the Washington Post.
Players who choose not to stand during the national anthem may stay in the locker room or off-field while it is being played.
The official statement from the National Football League states:
“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. 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.
The membership also strongly believes that:
“The policy adopted today was approved in concert with the NFL’s ongoing commitment to local communities and our country — one that is extraordinary in its scope, resources, and alignment with our players. We are dedicated to continuing our collaboration with players to advance the goals of justice and fairness in all corners of our society.
The efforts by many of our players sparked awareness and action around issues of social justice that must be addressed. The platform that we have created together is certainly unique in professional sports and quite likely in American business. We are honored to work with our players to drive progress.
It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic. This is not and was never the case.
This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem. Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room until after the Anthem has been performed.
We believe today’s decision will keep our focus on the game and the extraordinary athletes who play it—and on our fans who enjoy it.”