The NAACP criticized the NFL on Wednesday for its decision to ban players from kneeling during the national anthem.

“Protest is an American tradition; by protesting we work to hold our country accountable to its highest ideals,” the NAACP said in a statement. “Instead of coming together to address an issue disproportionately plaguing the African-American, the NFL owners have chosen to bury their heads and silence players.”

The association also pointed to the issue of police brutality toward black men, noting that the demographic is almost three times more likely than white men to be killed by deadly force.


The NFL on Wednesday unanimously approved a new policy requiring players on the field to stand during the national anthem. The policy also gives players the option to stay in the locker room during the anthem.

Teams whose players don't abide by the new rules will face fines.

“The NAACP supports and commends the athletes in the NFL, NBA, and WNBA who refuse to stay quiet and just play ball — they stand strong with all people who continue to fight for social justice,” the NAACP said.

The change in polcy came after months of deliberation among team owners following a movement in which a number of players knelt during the anthem to protest social injustices.

President TrumpDonald TrumpCaitlyn Jenner on Hannity touts Trump: 'He was a disruptor' Ivanka Trump doubles down on vaccine push with post celebrating second shot Conservative Club for Growth PAC comes out against Stefanik to replace Cheney MORE has criticized players who kneel during the anthem and often brought up the issue to rally his base.

Vice President Pence celebrated the NFL’s new policy on Wednesday by calling it "a win for America.”

“Americans can once again come together around what unites us — our flag, our military, and our National Anthem. Thank you NFL,” Pence wrote in a tweet.

The chairman of the New York Jets, Christopher Johnson, said he would support his team's players who choose to protest during the anthem by paying any fines they may incur. 

"Do I prefer that they stand? Of course. But I understand if they felt the need to protest,” Johnson said.

“There are some big, complicated issues that we’re all struggling with, and our players are on the front lines,” he continued. “I don’t want to come down on them like a ton of bricks, and I won’t.”