NFL team owners are considering a rule change that would make it mandatory for players to stand for the national anthem, a league spokesman said Tuesday.
The NFL's Policy Manual currently requires teams to be on the field during the national anthem, a tradition which began in 2009. The manual also states that players "should" stand at attention, face the flag and hold helmets in their left hand while the anthem was played.
The manual currently states that teams and players could face disciplinary action for not being on the field at the start of the game. The Steelers, Titans and Seahawks all skipped the national anthem during games last month.
No player or team has faced a fine or suspension since Colin Kaepernick began protesting the national anthem in 2016, though Kaepernick was not signed to a team in free agency this year.
NFL players and owners have faced criticism from the White House as players continue to protest the national anthem. On Tuesday morning, President Trump suggested "changing the tax law" to harm the NFL is players continued to "disrespect" the "Anthem, Flag and Country."
ESPN's Adam Schefter obtained an email from Commissioner Roger Goodell to team owners, which he stated that he believes that all players should stand for the anthem and that the league needed to "move past" the controversy. You can read the email in its entirety below.
Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.