NFL owners believe anthem policy will change if protests continue, report says

By Chelsea Howard 22 November 2017
NFL owners believe anthem policy will change if protests continue, report says

As the NFL players' protests during the national anthem continue to be a controversial issue well into the 2017 season, some team owners believe there will be a change to the league's anthem policy during the offseason. 

The league potentially could revert to a previous approach in which players stay in the locker rooms while the national anthem plays, the Washington Post reported.

The change was made in 2009, requiring players and coaches to be on the field during the anthem. While the current NFL policy does not require players to stand during the anthem, it strongly encourages them to do so. 

It is still too early to know what exactly will happen with the policy, but one unidentified owner told the Post that they were "not sure" if a formal vote from the owners would be required, however, the owner indicated that "most owners would support it, particularly if players continue to kneel this season."

Several other unidentified sources shared the same sentiments around the anthem policy, but also warned that there have been no "detailed discussions" yet because owners did not think it is appropriate to make an in-season change to the policy. There is an annual league meeting in March when the anthem policy issues could be addressed.  

The protests began last season when Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem to protest racial inequality. The protests carried into this season with more players following Kaepernick's lead, raising the attention of President Donald Trump and NFL sponsor Papa John's and fueling a firestorm among fans.

The Washington Post reached out to the NFL, but the league declined to comment on the matter. 

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