The NFL Apparently Changed Their National Anthem Policy In 2017 To Allow Punishment For Players

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made his presence made yesterday, when he said that any player who is “disrespectful to the flag” won’t play for his team. Jones also referenced an obscure rule in the NFL’s game operations manual that says players must stand for the national anthem.

Today, Deadspin’s Diana Moskovitz looked into the matter and noticed that the 2017 edition of this policy is different from the 2014 version, and includes severe punishments for players/teams.

Here is the 2014 version of the policy:

“During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area or respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in disciplinary action from the League office.”

And here’s the 2017 version.

“During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area or respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violation of the above, including first offenses.”

It is also worth noting that the manual says that players “should” stand for the anthem but that phrasing isn’t stopping Jerry Jones from forcing his players to stand and threatening to discipline them if they don’t “respect the flag’.

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