With ratings steadily dropping due to boycotting fans, the National Football League is definitely feeling the pressure. NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, confirmed on Tuesday after the organization held an emergency owner's meeting that players who choose to kneel during the national anthem will not be penalized.

Irate fans have begun boycotting the NFL, in protest of what they feel is disrespect to the country and the American flag. This has caused the NFL's ratings to drop seven-and-a-half percent compared to where they were at this point during the 2016 season and over eighteen percent compared to where they were at the six-week mark in 2015.

Even with the ratings continuing to drop steadily, Goodell says the NFL will only encourage players to stand for the anthem, but will not force them to with consequences.

Sponsors are beginning to push for a resolution

CBS reports that in addition to t.v. ratings being at an all-time low, audience attendance is also suffering; the average game audience is down 18 percent from compared to the 2015 season. What's worse, is that people are calling and canceling their NFL sports package with their cable providers, making the blow a lot worse for the league and its sponsors.

Some sponsors like Nike, Under Armour Inc and Anheuser-Busch, have already released statements saying they will not pull their sponsorship just yet, because support the right to protest, but they also respect the anthem.

However, with ratings on a steady decline, things are predicted to change.

After Von Miller knelt during the Broncos game in week three, Phil Long of veteranscenter.org pulled all ads that featured Miller.

The NFL rulebook does not require players to stand for the anthem

Pages A62-63 of the NFL League Rulebook discusses sideline practices for all NFL players.

The NFL guideline uses very careful language, as not to imply that players will be penalized if they don't stand. It states that players, "During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking."

The use of "should" means these are the suggested rituals, but they are not required.

It also points out that if a player is not on the sideline by the start of the anthem, then they may receive, "discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s)..."

Although players who kneel during the anthem are not violating the rulebook, they are still disrespecting the American flag and the people who fought for it, according to some boycotting fans who have taken to social media platforms like Facebook, to voice their frustrations.