Prompted by the actions of former quarterback Colin Kaepernick who, in the name of social justice, began taking a knee during the national anthem, the NFL released a new league policy for players during the national anthem.

The league will allow players to remain in the locker room during the national anthem, but if a player chooses to appear on the field during the anthem, they’re required to stand for the song’s duration.

From ESPN:

“This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room until after the Anthem has been performed.

“We believe today’s decision will keep our focus on the game and the extraordinary athletes who play it — and on our fans who enjoy it.”

A vote took place at the conclusion of the league’s spring meetings and was approved by all 32 owners.

Kaepernick started the trend in August 2016 and other players followed. The NFL said it did not have a rule in place to stop players from kneeling during the anthem. The rulebook only said that players “should” stand for the anthem.

Kneeling during the anthem created a massive backlash from fans, but also from then-presidential candidate Donald Trump, who did not ease his criticism once he became president.

Fans anticipated the beginning of the games in 2017, eager to see where their favorite players stood (literally), especially after Trump called kneelers a “son of a bitch”  while the NFL remained wishy-washy, refusing to take a stand. Some kneeled, some did not.

Needless to say, the NFL Players Association is not pleased:

I personally do not care. Stand. Kneel. Just play the game. So many of us (especially in political journalism/blogging) use sports as a release. Besides, with so many social media platforms available, you can take your message there.