According to Goodell, the new policy comes "in concert with the NFL's ongoing commitment to local communities and our country". The new policy sets requirements for players and personnel:
- "All team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem."
- "The Game Operations Manual will be revised to remove the requirement that all players be on the field for the Anthem."
- Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room or in a similar location off the field until after the Anthem has been performed."
- "A club will be fined by the League if its personnel are on the field and do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem."
- "Each club may develop its own work rules, consistent with the above principles, regarding its personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem."
- "The Commissioner will impose appropriate discipline on league personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem".
The decision to instill the policy came after former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick got down on his knee During the 2016-2017 NFL season as a protest against police brutality. Kaepernick's protest sparked the support of fellow players, who started kneeling during the National Anthem.
The protest did not go unnoticed as it caused an uproar that caused President Trump to criticize the players' actions. NFL players responded in support of Kaepernick, who they believe was blackballed following his protest.
A statement by the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) was released and read: "The NFL chose to not consult the union in the development of this new 'policy.' NFL players have shown their patriotism through their social activism, their community service, in support of our military and law enforcement and yes, through their protests to raise awareness about the issues they care about,"
The league also stated that players do have to stand at the side lines during the National Anthem, and that they can stay in the locker room during the ceremony.