Coach Chuck Pagano responds to players protesting during the national anthem.
People have been caught in nonstop debate about whether players should stand for the national anthem since Sunday, when 100-plus athletes took a knee in response to comments from President Donald Trump.
One popular meme that has shown up in comment threads (yes, we read those) is a photo of military personnel running onto a field.
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It reads: “Did you know? Before 2009, NFL players did not stand for the national anthem, they stayed in the locker room. The custom didn’t start until the Dept. of Defense gave the NFL $5.4 million to stage on field ceremonies, to make the teams seem more patriotic.”
But here’s the thing.
While the NFL has, in fact, only been standing on the field since 2009 (this was confirmed by an NFL spokesman), there is no way to prove the practice began after payments were received from the military.
IndyStar reported in 2015 that the Indianapolis Colts were one of 14 NFL teams to receive part of $5.4 million from the Department of Defense for military tributes. That money, which was first highlighted in a report released by Arizona Sens. Jeff Flake and John McCain, was received from 2011-14. The NFL as a whole…
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