The NFL officially passed a new national anthem policy on Wednesday at the league’s owners meetings. For a deeper explanation, you can check out SB Nation’s article on the topic. For now, here’s an overview:
The 32 member clubs of the National Football League have reaffirmed their strong commitment to work alongside our players to strengthen our communities and advance social justice. The unique platform that we have created is unprecedented in its scope, and will provide extraordinary resources in support of programs to promote positive social change in our communities.
The membership also strongly believes that
1. All team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.
2. The Game Operations Manual will be revised to remove the requirement that all players be on the field for the Anthem.
3. Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room or in a similar location off the field until after the Anthem has been performed.
4. A club will be fined by the League if its personnel are on the field and do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.
5. Each club may develop its own work rules, consistent with the above principles, regarding its personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.
6. The Commissioner will impose appropriate discipline on league personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.
This policy was unanimously approved by NFL owners, which means Eagles CEO and Chairman Jeffrey Lurie ultimately signed off on it.
It remains to be seen how Eagles players will react to this news. The next open media session takes place after next week’s OTA practice on Tuesday, May 29.
Malcolm Jenkins used to demonstrate during the anthem by raising a fist but he stopped doing that late in the 2017 season after the league pledged nearly $100 million to “causes considered important to African-American communities.” Jenkins now has the option to stay in the locker room during the anthem if he wishes to do so. It’s unclear if that’s the case.
It’s also unclear how offeason addition Michael Bennett will choose to demonstrate during the anthem. When he was with the Seahawks last year, he chose to sat on the bench. If he wants to do that with the Eagles now, they can allow him to do so, but it’ll cost the team a fine for each time he does it.
Bennett currently isn’t attending the Eagles’ voluntary workout program, so he won’t be available to the media until he shows up. Doug Pederson did say he expects Bennett to be around at some point. At the very least, one would expect him to attend mandatory minicamp in June since he can be fined if he doesn’t.
Whether you like it or not, the fact remains that the Eagles are one of the most socially active teams in the league. They won a Super Bowl last season despite not just “sticking to sports.”