The NFL announced Wednesday that players on the field during the national anthem who do not stand will be subject to a fine.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell called standing for the anthem “a very important moment for a lot of us as a league, as clubs and [for] our country” — apparently more important than taking a stand against racism.
The league called it “unfortunate” that the protests led fans to believe players “were unpatriotic” — again, apparently more unfortunate than the deaths of innocent Black men at the hands of police.
The NFL Players Association, for its part, disagreed with the decision.
“The NFL chose not to consult the union in the development of this new ‘policy,'” it 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.”
While Black people remain drastically underrepresented in leadership roles in the National Football League, the nearly all-White higher-ups are considering taking steps to further silence their majority-Black players.