National Football League (NFL) commissioner Roger Goodell today (May 23) announced the league’s new policy on player protests during the national anthem. It ignores Colin Kaepernick and other players’ protest aims—to bring awareness to and end anti-Black police violence—and continues to frame their actions as “unpatriotic.”

From the statement: “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.”


Players who protest during the anthem will accrue fines for their teams, and “the commissioner will impose appropriate discipline on league personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.”

The NFL Players Association issued a statement making it clear that players were not included in the league’s decision, and vowed to challenge aspects of the policy that clash with the union’s agreement.


The news prompted immediate comment online, as people pointed out how the new policy impacts the predominately Black players’ First Amendment rights and falls in line with President Donald Trump’s push to punish them.