The NFL changed its rule book Wednesday to stop players from kneeling during the national anthem. All 32 team owners approved a new rule designed to ban players from sitting or kneeling on the field in protest during the anthem, reports ESPN. However, the league said players could remain in the locker room and emerge once the anthem is over. Previously, all players had to be on the field during the anthem. The NFL will fine teams whose players disobey, but the teams themselves will decide on the penalties for individual players, reports CNN.
"This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem," said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in a statement. "It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic," he added. "This is not and was never the case." All of this began in 2016, when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the anthem to protest police brutality. (Read more national anthem stories.)