The NFL and the owners of its 32 teams announced a new policy today (May 23), saying players will no longer be required to be on the field during the anthem, and may stay in the locker room during that time if they choose -- but those who do go out to the field and don’t stand could face a penalty.

The new policy doesn't ban kneeling, but it does give the league the ability to fine teams whose players take a knee or sit while on the field.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said, "It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic. This is not and was never the case.” But the public was loud and clear in protest of those protests with attendance and TV ratings taking a hit.