Pence celebrates NFL requiring players to stand for anthem: 'Winning'
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Vice President Pence on Wednesday celebrated a new NFL policy that requires players to stand for the national anthem at games. 

"Winning," Pence tweeted shortly after the league's 32 team owners voted unanimously to implement the new policy, which will fine players who protest the anthem on the field.

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Today’s decision by the @NFL is a win for the fans, a win for @POTUS, and a win for America," Pence wrote in another tweet.

"Americans can once again come together around what unites us – our flag, our military, and our National Anthem. Thank you NFL."

The policy comes after President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats slide in battle for Senate Trump believes Kushner relationship with Saudi crown prince a liability: report Christine Blasey Ford to be honored by Palo Alto City Council MORE ignited a firestorm of controversy last fall when he said players that participated in kneeling during the national anthem should be fired. 

In a sign of solidarity with Trump, Pence exited an Indianapolis Colts game in October when the opposing San Francisco 49ers took a knee during the anthem, which led some to question whether he only attended the game to make a political statement. 

"While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I don't think it's too much to ask NFL players to respect the Flag and our National Anthem," Pence said in a tweet at the time. 

Trump later tweeted that he had instructed Pence to leave the game if any players did not stand in respect during the performance of the anthem.

In a move to keep protests off the field, the NFL said players will now be allowed to remain in the locker room during performances of the national anthem without punishment.

Players began kneeling to protest police brutality and racial injustice in 2016. Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback at the time, started the movement.

The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) on Wednesday criticized the league over the new 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.

Updated: 6:12 p.m.