Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL touted a new anthem policy in Atlanta on Wednesday, but signs of serious aftershocks were felt almost instantly.
Under the new policy teams and players will be fined and punished if they kneeling during the playing of the anthem.
The NFLPA lashed back against the league for creating a protocol that did not adhere to the collective bargaining agreement, nor did the NFL and its owners include players in conversation about the new policy demanding teams and its players stand if on the field for the Star-Spangled Banner.
With that in mind, San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York said he abstained from an otherwise unanimous vote on the final day of the owner's meetings.
York said he felt players and officials should have direct input on the matter.
In October, he said he supported players - including former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and safety Eric Reid - and their right to protest.
"We encourage (players) to stand, but we're not requiring you to do anything,"he said. "You can express yourself, but we want you to stand because you want to stand. ... And we want to make our country and our communities a better place - not because you're forcing us to, but because we're compelled to."
The NFL policy permits teams to choose to stay in the locker room during the national anthem, but calls for fines and punishment for any mode of 'disrespect'.
Steelers owner Art Rooney said that would include players holding a fist over their head and locking arms. Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said there is no fine schedule for anthem-related penalties and that owners will know disrespect "when we see it."
New York Jets chairman Christopher Johnson said in March a change in anthem protocol was uncalled for, but he did vote with the majority on Wednesday in the name of the good of the game.
However, Johnson said Jets' players are free to protest without fear of NFL or team fines. Johnson said if his players are fined, he will cover the cost.