What Are the Real NFL Rules For the National Anthem?
Anybody who's spent any time on social media in recent days has seen the Facebook post about the NFL rulebook and section A62-63, requiring all players to stand for the National Anthem. And the question is, just like it is for almost everything on the internet these days, is it real? Well, in strictest terms, no.
But, then there's the league's game operation manual.
According to Time.com:
"...the game-operations manual dictates how NFL games should be run in the bigger-picture organizational sense. The league’s Game Operations Department uses the manual to govern the conduct of home clubs, to ensure they protect players and provide the conditions for a fair and fan-friendly contest. According to the NFL website: 'Clubs face warnings and other penalties for noncompliance.' The NFL rulebook makes no mention of the national anthem. But the game operations manual does."
And what precisely does the operations manual say?
"The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem.
During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses."
The important part here is, of course, the wording. And the magic word is "may" With the overt endorsement of player behavior by the Commissioner Roger Goodell and the owners, don't expect to see any disciplinary action against players protesting America to be taken soon...despite the obvious fact that they are ignoring their very own rules.