The National Football League has said players can now protest during the US national anthem, as rallies continue against police brutality and racism.
“We were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said.
The NFL had previously banned its players from dropping to one knee.
The practice was started by black player Colin Kaepernick in 2016 in protest against racial injustice.
On Friday President Donald Trump again voiced his opposition to such protests, saying on Twitter: “We should be standing up straight and tall, ideally with a salute, or a hand on heart. There are other things you can protest, but not our Great American Flag – NO KNEELING!”
The NFL’s reversal of policy comes 11 days after George Floyd, a 46-year-old man, died in Minneapolis after being kept in a chokehold by a white police officer.
The officer involved was charged with murder and three colleagues stand accused of aiding and abetting.
The death triggered protests against racial discrimination across the US and world. On Friday, Minneapolis banned police neck restraint and California pledged to follow suit.
What did the NFL commissioner say?
Mr Goodell published a video in which he denounced racism in the US.
“We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter. Protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality and oppression of black players, coaches, fans and staff,” he said.
“I will be reaching out to players who have raised their voices and others on how we can improve.”
His comments come shortly after a number of players urged the NFL to take a stronger stance on racism and police brutality in the country.
More on George Floyd’s death
What’s the story behind Kaepernick’s kneeling?
Kaepernick started kneeling during the customary pre-game playing of the national anthem in 2016 in protest against racial injustice.
A number of other players soon joined Kaepernick, who was a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers at the time.
He became a free agent after the 2016 season and remains unsigned. Kaepernick filed a grievance against NFL owners in October 2017, believing they were conspiring not to hire him because of his kneeling protests.
The two sides resolved the grievance in February under a confidentiality agreement.