NFL owners adopt new policy to address anthem protests

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Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid kneel in protest during the national anthem prior to playing on Sept. 12, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid kneel in protest during the national anthem prior to playing on Sept. 12, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

By PAUL NEWBERRY
AP Sports Writer

ATLANTA (AP) - NFL owners have approved a new policy aimed at addressing the firestorm over national anthem protests, permitting players to stay in the locker room during the "The Star-Spangled Banner" but requiring them to stand if they come to the field.

The decision was announced Wednesday by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell during the league's spring meeting in Atlanta.

In a sign that players were not part of the discussions, any violations of the policy would result in fines against the team - not the players. The NFL Players Association said it will challenge any part of the new policy that violates the collective bargaining agreement.

The owners spent several hours addressing the contentious issue - which has reached all the way to the White House.

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016, a quiet but powerful protest against police brutality and racial inequities in the justice system.

Other players took up the cause.

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For more AP NFL coverage: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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