According to reports, the NFL just changed its rules on players protesting the national anthem. After President Trump threatened to hit them where it hurts, the NFL is paying attention. President Trump just tweeted that no tax dollars should be given to the NFL if they don’t support our flag and anthem.
Last month, Trump also slammed the NFL as more players kneeled during the anthem prior to games:
“NFL must respect this!” he tweeted on September 25, followed the next day by: “The NFL has all sorts of rules and regulations. The only way out for them is to set a rule that you can’t kneel during our National Anthem!”
On Sunday, as Cowboys GM Jerry Jones spoke to reporters, it emerged that he had spoken to Trump “about an NFL policy in game operations manual that dictates players stand for the national anthem.”
Crucially, it warns that failure to follow these rules “may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choices for violations.”
This rule, however, seems to have been altered.
According to Deadspin, the 2014 edition of the game operations manual—officially named the Policy Manual for Member Clubs—is significantly different when it addresses punishment. It says: “Failure to be on the field by the start of the National anthem may result in disciplinary action from the League Office.”
— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) October 9, 2017
The version currently being pushed out by the NFL differs in two ways: Firstly, there are increased penalties for not standing for the national anthem, but also the punishment does not have to come from the league office now.
It’s unclear when the change was made but this is clearly directed at the players who have been protesting during the anthem.