NFL owners adopt new policy to address anthem protests

ATLANTA (AP) -- NFL owners have 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.

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.

Related: NFL discussing possible steps to deal with anthem protests

The owners spent several hours addressing the contentious issue -- which has reached all the way to the White House. 

"You have to abide by your bosses rules," said one fan in favor of the policy.

"It's limiting their ability to protest peacefully," said one fan against the policy.

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.

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