The NFL held their Spring League Meetings in Atlanta over the last few days, normally a chance to clean up a few details that were left unresolved following their meetings in March.
This time, though, there was a lot on the docket. And there were a lot of answers.
Among the items discussed was the National Anthem, and how the league would approach it for the 2018 season. The answer was spelt out in a statement by Commissioner Roger Goodell, with six points that were approved by the teams.
1. All team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.
2. The Game Operations Manual will be revised to remove the requirement that all players be on the field for the anthem.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. The commissioner will impose appropriate discipline on league personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.
"As has been said, I think we have spent a lot of time really, not just at this meeting, but really over the last year discussing the subject of the anthem and working with our players to try to make sure we could get to a place where all the different viewpoints could be respected," said Steelers President Art Rooney II. "I think we've come out at a place that we as a group and the league are comfortable with. Obviously, we want to continue to work with our players and make sure that they feel that their point of view has been respected. I think the fact that those who are not comfortable standing for the anthem have the right to stay off the field. So, we're not forcing anybody to stand who doesn't feel that's within the way they feel about particular subjects. But those who are on the field are going to be asked to stand.
"I think that we've listened to a lot of different viewpoints, including our fans, over the last year. And I think this policy attempts to come out in a place where we respected everybody's point of view in this as best we could."
Other items of note that came out of the meetings include:
- Arizona will host Super Bowl LVII in 2023 and New Orleans Super Bowl LVIII in 2024.
- Nashville, Tennessee will host the 2019 NFL Draft.
- The owners approved that it is a penalty if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent.
- Kickoffs will be revamped for the 2018 season to limit full-speed collisions. Details are below.