JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - NFL owners approved a new policy aimed at addressing the firestorm over national anthem protests, permitting players to stay in the locker room during the "The Star-Spangled Banner" but requiring them to stand if they come to the field.
The decision was announced Wednesday by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during the league's spring meeting in Atlanta.
"We want people to be respectful of the national anthem," Goodell said. "We want people to stand."
In a sign that players were not part of the discussions, any violations of the policy would result in fines against the team -- not the players. The NFL Players Association said it will challenge any part of the new policy that violates the collective bargaining agreement.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016, a quiet but powerful protest against police brutality and racial inequities in the justice system.
Other players took up the cause.
The controversy hit closer to home when the Jaguars joined the protests months later.
Last season, some Jacksonville Jaguars players took a knee before facing the Baltimore Ravens in London. Jaguars owner Shad Khan linked arms with other players in what seemed a show of support.
A lot of people criticized that, especially because they did it on foreign soil.
Khan released a statement Wednesday afternoon.
Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said Thursday that he had seen Khan's statement and planned to have conversations with others in the organization before addressing the team about the new league policy.
“I do look forward to the conversation progressing with the organization, the players, and speaking to them about it," Marrone told reporters.
Marrone said many members of his family have served in the military, and he feels his actions speak to his feelings on the national anthem issue.
“I’m always going to stand. I can only speak for myself,” Marrone said. “I do understand and appreciate everything that the men and women (of the military) have done."
News4Jax Sports Reporter, Analyst and Insider Mark Brunell said he liked Khan's position.
"He recognizes this is a process. Things aren't fixed overnight," Brunell said. "This is a long process that will take a lot of people working together, coming together from different backgrounds, different perspectives and different viewpoints. Trying to find a common ground, at some point, is the goal. That could take some time. As long as there’s progress in that direction, that’s a good thing. So we’ll see.”
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