There is a comment circulating Facebook dealing with the NFL players who have chosen to kneel to protest racial injustice and police brutality during the National Anthem that is false. The meme or comment being shared says the NFL Rules say a player MUST stand during the National Anthem.
The meme or comment typically looks like this:
NFL RULES!! The specific rule pertaining to the national anthem is found on pages A62-63 of the league rulebook. It states:
“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.”
There is no mention of the National Anthem in the NFL Rule Book. Pages 62 and 63 of the rulebook only talk about foul enforcement on the field and do not mention anything about pregame activities.
According to Snopes.com, the only pregame activities mentioned in the rule book state the amount of time the players must be on the field before the opening kick.
“Both teams must be on the field to kick off at the scheduled time for the start of each half. Prior to the start of the game, both teams are required to appear on the field at least 10 minutes prior to the scheduled kickoff in order to ensure sufficient time for proper warm-up. Designated members of the officiating crew must notify both head coaches personally of the scheduled time for kickoff prior to the start of each half.”
There is a section of the rulebook that states that political or personal statements may not be written or worn on the uniforms visible to the stadium or television audience but does not mention silent protests that involve no visual writing or images.
If you see this comment going around on your Facebook feed after the events of the weekend, make sure to set the record straight. The NFL does not have a rule that players must stand during the National Anthem.