NFL owners have unanimously approved a new national anthem policy that requires players to stand if they are on the field during the performance but gives them the option to remain in the locker room if they prefer, it was announced Wednesday.
The new policy subjects teams to a fine if a player or any other team personnel do not show appropriate respect for the anthem. That includes any attempt to sit or kneel, as dozens of players have done during the past two seasons. Those teams will also have the option to fine any team personnel, including players, for the infraction.
"This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room until after the Anthem has been performed.
"We believe today's decision will keep our focus on the game and the extraordinary athletes who play it -- and on our fans who enjoy it."
A vote took place at the conclusion of the league's spring meetings and was approved by all 32 owners.