Unless you have had your head in the sand or you, Dear Reader, are from another country who does not care about what President Trump says, you would know that there has been hoopla for awhile regarding kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem at the start of professional American football games. This was started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, triggering a firestorm in 2016 when he decided to kneel during the national anthem to protest racial injustice.
The first question to ask, of course, is when did we start standing for the playing of the "Star-Spangled Banner," which hadn't even become our national anthem until the 20th century (and that designation is still in dispute -- recall singing, "America" on elementary school mornings, considering "America the Beautiful" as a kind of change-of-pace national anthem, and hearing Kate Smith and her rendition of "God Bless America" coming from somewhere near her large intestine starting NHL professional hockey games in my lifetime)?
Of course, since we now have the internet, research has become so much easier to do, if not as definitive and perhaps lacking in authoritative veracity. So, I "googled" the question, which resulted in two interesting items: One is from Digital Polarization Initiative (DigiPo), which, coincidentally talk about research ..., is an interesting project for students to "investigate questions of truth and authority on the web and publish their results." I like how there are snipits of primary sources, like from the New York Times in 1918 as well as a reaching out to the NFL for confirmation. Check it out.
The DigiPo article tells us through quoting a 1917 biography of Senator Julius C Burrows that the first time standing for the "Star-Spangled Banner" was at a West Point graduation in 1891 after being "implored" to do so by the Senator Burrows in his speech for everyone -- soldier or citizen -- to stand for the "National air." At the end of the DigiPo article, an NFL spokesman had confirmed that the National Football League began the "practice" of standing for the playing of the "Star Spangled Banner" in 2009. 2009 -- less than a decade ago.