While many players called out the new rules, President Donald Trump applauded the new policy.
According to Klemko, some are discussing ways to skirt new rules "just to spite the NFL."
The policy removes a requirement for players to be on the field for the anthem, and gives players the option to stay in the locker room. Teams will be fined for any personnel that "do not show proper respect for the flag and Anthem” on the sidelines.
Other journalists were hearing similar things from players they talked to.
While admittedly a small sample size, some players are telling me they’re *considering* staying in locker room or making a different on-field gesture simply b/c they feel this new policy is a direct challenge to them. Before today, they hadn’t thought about demonstrating in ‘18.— Jim Trotter (@JimTrotter_NFL) May 23, 2018
The protests during the national anthem started in August 2016 when former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the 'Star-Spangled Banner' as a means of protesting racial inequality and police brutality. Dozens other NFL players, as well as numerous other athletes across America, ultimately joined him. The protests grew during the 2017 season after Trump criticized NFL players who chose to follow suit. Trump said owners should "fire" NFL players who protest the anthem and referred to them as "son[s] of b------". Players responded by protesting en masse.