NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Tuesday that the league will allow players to express their political views on the field with the new national anthem rules, which are expected to go into effect in 2019.
The NFLPA says that it is the first major professional sports league to begin taking a stance on anthem protests.
The NFLPA argues that playing the anthem to support the national anthem is “simply a patriotic gesture, not an act of protest.”NFL players have already protested the use of the anthem as an anthem by kneeling during the national championship game in February.
The players and the union have also taken a stand on the anthem by refusing to stand for the national song and a protest against police brutality.
The rule changes will allow the league to require players to stand during the anthem and to have a microphone during the playing of the national anthems.
Goodell said that the rule will “protect players’ free speech rights and respect the Constitution of the United States.”