Twitter reacts to NFL's new policy requiring players to 'respect' national anthem

The NFL may have intended for its Wednesday announcement of a new national anthem policy to appease both sides of a long-politically charged debate or at least slip quietly into the midweek news cycle, but that didn't happen in the slightest on social media.

While most team owners, save for the San Francisco 49ers' Jed York and the several who accompanied NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to Wednesday's press conference revealing the policy, have kept quiet about the rule changes, many fans, reporters and former players have not.

The policy announcement, which comes just a day after the NFL finalized a $90-million social activism pact that stemmed from player protests in 2017, requires that players now stand and "show respect" during the singing or playing of pregame national anthems -- or stay off the field so as not to incur a league-imposed fine for their team. And the opinions on everything from its timing and implementation to its reasoning and effectiveness are divided, with one team chairman, the New York Jets' Christopher Johnson, already offering to pay for any fines his players receive.

Here's a roundup of all the top tweets on the NFL's new policy:

For former NFL quarterback Sage Rosenfels, who echoed many of the same thoughts shared by the dozens of players who peacefully protested in 2017, the problems with the new rules are aplenty.

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Author Dan Wetzel -- and others -- agreed on the front of many fans outright ignoring the anthem at stadiums.

Others agreed with Rosenfels' point about the NFL, in 2009, making it a requirement for players to be on the field for the anthem in the first place, suggesting that people who say, "Protest on your own time," probably don't go to work where patriotism is enforced.

NBC News' Chuck Todd opined that the NFL's policy actually makes some sense from a business standpoint, perhaps because the owners want nothing more than to, as Arizona Cardinals president Steve Keim put it on Wednesday, "get back to football." But he also suggested it comes off as another public misstep for a league trying to retain its fans (and money) and side with its players.

CBS Sports' Danny Kanell took an alternative approach and suggested a similar policy has worked well for the NBA.

As others have pointed out, though, in many eyes, the NFL hasn't shown itself to be nearly as progressive in supporting player causes as the NBA, and basketball's anthem policy was reportedly also the product of a collective bargaining agreement -- not a decision made without the consent of the players association.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, for one, is a fan of the policy. And that's no surprise considering his counterpart, President Donald Trump, has long been the nation's leading voice against peaceful pregame protests, sending plenty of tweets himself and first suggesting in September 2017 that NFL owners should cut "son of a (explicit)" players who use the anthem as a platform for promoting equality.

Intentional or not, PBS White House correspondent Yamiche Alcindor -- and others -- said the policy gives Trump and Pence exactly what they've been wanting since staging their own protests over players' protests, all while upstaging some of the words of the national anthem.

The Philadelphia Daily News' Les Bowen, Quartz reporter Tim Fernholz and former NFL player Domonique Foxworth thought the NFL may have been better off avoiding any kind of announcement or rule change whatsoever since its own social activism deal -- and a decreasing number of protesters -- seemed to be bringing the issue to its own resolution.

Others, like SportsNet New York's Taylor Rooks, Sports Illustrated's Robert Klemko and Carolina Panthers wide receiver Torrey Smith, said the new policy has merely reignited a false perception about the protests, which began in 2016 with former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick taking a knee to call attention to police brutality and racial injustice, painting players as "unpatriotic" rather than hungry for social progress.

Poorly executed or not, the National Review's Dan McLaughlin still thinks the NFL was within its rights to enact such a policy.

Others, going beyond the fact that the NFL mandated player appearances during the anthem in 2009, simply believe the league has acted out of fear of angering too many fans.

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