The NFL is expected to approve a new policy to require league players to stand for the national anthem, following months of deliberations on how to handle protests on the field.

Team owners are set to vote Wednesday in Atlanta on the policy, which will allow them to fine players and any other team personnel for kneeling or disrespecting the national anthem on the field, ESPN reports.

At least 24 owners, who have wavered on how to handle players kneeling during the performance of the anthem before games, are reported to support the measure.


In a compromise aimed at preventing the controversial demonstrations, players will reportedly have the option to remain in the locker rooms and will only be fined if they appear on the field and then protest.

On Tuesday it was reported that owners discussed during the league's spring meeting a policy that would level an in-game penalty against teams that decided to protest the anthem instead of remaining off the field. 

The protests, which dozens of players engaged in over the last two NFL seasons, were a show of solidarity with ethnic minority communities facing racial prejudice and have sparked intense national debates over whether the acts were unpatriotic.

President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump goes after Cassidy after saying he wouldn't support him for president in 2024 Jan. 6 panel lays out criminal contempt case against Bannon Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — Agencies sound alarm over ransomware targeting agriculture groups MORE has been one of the most vocal critics of the protests, calling them unpatriotic and urging coaches to fire players who took part. Trump has repeatedly called on the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to take action on the issue. 

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the first to begin kneeling when he did so in 2016 to highlight police brutality, but the NFL had no written rules requiring players to stand during the anthem, ESPN reports.

Vice President Pence also entered the maelstrom of controversy over the protests when he left an Indianapolis Colts game in October after players for the opposing 49ers knelt during the anthem, inviting questions as to whether he suspected likely protests and attended only to walk out.

"I left today's Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem," Pence said in a tweet at the time.