The National Football League’s pre-season kicked off tonight with the annual Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio. The big winner may be the NFL, as no national anthem protests were observed.
The Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens players all stood for the song at the game’s star. The NFL has recently said it would not enforce its new protocol on behavior during the song while it negotiates with the NFL Players Association on how to manage protests.
The league said in May that it would require players to stand at attention during the song, but allowed that players could remain in the locker room if they chose. Fines would be issued to teams for non-compliance, and individual teams could invoke other discipline.
The announcement in May sparked complaints from players, some of whom said their civil rights would be violated if they weren’t allowed to demonstrate. The league and players union was headed to arbitration on the issue before deciding to have a cooling-off period.