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Miami Dolphins' Jordan Phillips (97) stands during the national anthem, but shows support for the protest as he puts an arm on the shoulder of kneeling teammate, Kenny Stills (10), Michael Thomas (31) and Julius Thomas (89) before an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. The Panthers won 45-21. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

Bob Leverone/Associated Press

The NFL Players Association is reportedly preparing for a legal battle following changes to the league’s national anthem policy. 

According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, “the NFLPA has retained multiple law firms to research the options for fighting the new policy.”

After player conduct during the national anthem became a central talking point, owners approved changes in May that require all team personnel to stand and “show respect for the anthem” if they are on the field. Players are also permitted to remain in the locker room if they choose.

The rule changes came as a result of players around the league kneeling during the national anthem as a protest against racial injustice, beginning with Colin Kaepernick in 2016.

A 2009 policy required players to be present on the sidelines but had no rules about standing.

After the new rules were enacted, the NFLPA said it would “review” and “challenge” any violations to the latest collective bargaining agreement:

The players association now appears set to battle the owners and league office regarding the changes.

As Michael McCann of Sports Illustrated reported in May, the changes without consulting the NFLPA could bring upon an antitrust lawsuit.

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