“I think the independence is choices — I got a choice to live a Christian life. I choose to take care of my family, and I choose to be an entertainer,” he said. “And I’m thankful every day to live in a country that I’m allowed to do that. If it weren’t for the home of the brave it wouldn’t be the land of the free.”

Of course, as their employer, the NFL gets to decide whether players kneel or not. And starting in 2018, that’s not going to be an option.

“Under the change approved by team owners at the Spring League Meeting, individual clubs will have the power to set their own policies to ensure the anthem is being respected during any on-field action. If a player chooses to protest on the sideline, the NFL will fine the team. The player also could be fined by his team,” NFL.com reported.

Players will be able to stay in the locker room if they choose to protest the anthem, however, something that’s drawn the ire of the most vocal critic of anthem-kneeling:

Nevertheless, it will certainly mean a less-acrimonious NFL season in 2018 — even if the policy is imperfect. Yes, it will still allow anthem protesting, but it won’t be directly disrespecting the anthem on the field. That’s something that should make a lot of Americans — including Tim Atwood — think that the NFL is going in the right direction.