The culture clash over patriotism rapidly spread across the league — after a National Football League quarterback took a knee and refused to get up.
CGTN’s Jim Spellman reports on the controversial protests that caused the NFL to take action.
When the National Football League kicks off its season later this year, players will be required to stand for the U.S. national anthem or stay in the locker room — no taking a knee is allowed.
It started in 2016 when Quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt during the playing of the U.S. national anthem. His action was a protest against treatment of African Americans by police after a series of high-profile shootings of mostly unarmed black men by police officers.
He was later cut from the team and has not played in the league since. Other players, however, joined in and the protests spread.
The new regulation will result in a fine against the team if anyone is on the field and “is disrespectful to the anthem or the flag,” explains Roger Goodell, an NFL commissioner.
The new policy is splitting opinions among fans and players, and has become about more than just the flag or the right to protest in the U.S.
Players say the protests were never about disrespecting the flag, but rather a way of calling attention to injustice in America. It is not clear if any players will choose to take a knee this coming season. CEO of the New York Jets says he supports his players’ freedom of speech and if anyone kneels, the team will pay the fines.