In June 2016, a rumor began circulating on social media holding that the National Football League (NFL) would be banning the playing of the National Anthem before games beginning in 2017; the rumor picked up renewed currency a few months later when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began making headlines for refusing to stand for the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner”:
The notion that the highly publicity-conscious NFL would make such a controversial and unpopular decision and bring public opprobrium down upon them is exceedingly unlikely. And indeed, the NFL has made no such announcement about eliminating the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” nor has “news” of been reported by any credible media outlet.
While the origins of this rumor remain unclear, it may have stemmed from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s decision to return more than $700,000 of “paid patriotism” to the United States government:
The NFL is returning $724,000 it was paid by the Defense Department to host patriotic celebrations