In response to an outcry from the White House over professional football players kneeling in protest during the National Anthem at NFL football games, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell enacted a new policy regarding how players should act during the playing of the National Anthem. Players who are present on the field during the playing of the anthem must stand; those who do not wish to stand while the anthem is played may remain in the locker room.
When Goodell encated the new policy in May, he did so without consulting the NFL Players Association. On July 10, the NFLPA filed an official grievance against the new anthem policy. In their statement the NFLPA stated that enacting the new policy without the input of the NFLPA was in violation of the collective bargaining agreement between the player’s union and the NFL and violation of the player’s rights.
The NFL has agreed to meet with the NFLPA and discuss the matter.
The protests began in 2016 when then San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kapernick “took a knee” during the playing of the National Anthem in protest of the injustices enacted over minorities. The kneeling in protest during the playing of the anthem spread to other players during the 2017 season.
The issue came to a head last September when the President, assuming the kneeling was disrespecting the flag and the military, spouted that players who did not stand during the anthem should be fired.
Off the playing field the NFL has made an effort to support the players and their social issues including committing $89 million to the effort.