MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The National Football League introduced a new policy Wednesday that requires all players on the field to stand when the national anthem is played.
Players can stay in the locker room during the anthem with no repercussions, but if they kneel or otherwise disobey the policy on the field, they could be fined.
"We want people to be respectful to the National Anthem. We want people to stand. That's all personnel, and make sure that they treat this moment in a respectful fashion," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said.
The controversy started in 2016 when Colin Kaepernick began kneeling as a silent protest to racial inequalities and police brutality.
The protest grew, with more players joining in last season. Then President Donald Trump expressed his displeasure, pushing the protest into the national headlines.
"They should stand up when the national anthem is played. It's the National Football League. It's red, white, and blue, and they use the stars for their logo. It's an all-American sport," David Jackson, who supports the league's new policy, said.
But not all agree with the NFL.
"You pay them to play football, you didn't pay them to stand. You didn't pay them to stand for something they don't believe is not right at the moment," Myia Winfrey, who's against the policy, said.
"If you let the players do what they want to do, and you don't try to chastise them for it, or scold them for it, or penalize them for it--it becomes a non-story pretty quickly," said Gary Parrish, a college basketball columnist and TV analyst for CBS Sports and the host of The Gary Parrish Show on 92.9 FM in Memphis.
The NFL Players Association said in a statement Wednesday that the union will review the new policy and challenge any part of it that isn't consistent with their collective bargaining agreement.