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NFL Players Association criticizes new league policy on kneeling during national anthem

The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) on Wednesday criticized the league for its new national anthem policy.

In a statement, the union said it would review the new policy and “challenge any aspect of it that is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement.”

The union accused the league of contradicting its previous statements and of ignoring players’ wishes in developing the new policy, which instructs that all team and league personnel should stand for the national anthem.

“The NFL chose to not consult the union in the development of this new ‘policy,’” the union said in a statement. “NFL players have shown their patriotism through their social activism, their community service, in support of our military and law enforcement and yes, through their protests to raise awareness about the issues they care about.”

“The vote by NFL club CEOs today contradicts the statements made to our player leadership by Commissioner Roger Goodell and the Chairman of the NFL’s Management Council John Mara about the principles, values and patriotism of our League,” the statement read.

{mosads}The new policy states that teams can be fined if “personnel do not show appropriate respect for flag and anthem.” The policy also notes that players will not be required to be on the field during the anthem.

The revision was prompted after months of discussions on how to handle players who protested police brutality and racial inequality by kneeling during the national anthem.

President Trump railed against the protests during the last NFL season, calling on owners to fire players who participated, and urging Commissioner Roger Goodell to create a policy barring the protests.

The NFLPA last fall affirmed its support of players’ rights to peacefully protest after Vice President Pence walked out of an Indianapolis Colts game over kneeling players.

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