The National Football League Owners voted today to institute new rules for players, league officials and team personnel as it relates to the National Anthem. As expected, this new policy has gone over about as well as bringing a baby to an opera and below you’ll see what I’m talking about. But first, here is the new policy courtesy nfl.com.
1. All team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.
2. The Game Operations Manual will be revised to remove the requirement that all players be on the field for the anthem.
3. Personnel who choose not to stand for the anthem may stay in the locker room or in a similar location off the field until after the anthem has been performed.
4. A club will be fined by the League if its personnel are on the field and do not stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.
5. Each club may develop its own work rules, consistent with the above principles, regarding its personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.
6. The commissioner will impose appropriate discipline on league personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.
Now to the reactions…
Just a reminder that the NBA has a policy in place that REQUIRES players to stand for the anthem and they have taken zero criticism for it
— Danny Kanell (@dannykanell) May 23, 2018
Well Danny, the difference is that football has become America’s Game. It’s our pastime now. Far less people care about this issue in the NBA than they do the NFL. Football embraced patriotism long ago and our servicemen and women are far and away football fans before they are basketball fans. That’s why there’s zero criticism. Know your audience Danny. Oh, and aren’t NBA players allowed to make political statements by wearing t-shirts pregame and writing on their shoes?
— NFLPA (@NFLPA) May 23, 2018
The expected reply from the NFL Players’ Association. They may challenge it all they want but the weakest union in any of the four American pro sports won’t have much to stand on. Pun INTENDED.
It means Roger Goodell will make his own arbitrary decisions about how to enforce this policy, just as he does on everything from proper inflation of footballs to domestic violence. https://t.co/SSzvcHgJBl
— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) May 23, 2018
Michael is correct. The owners have learned nothing about this arbitrary power of the Commissioner that has screwed the League so often before.
The NFL is disgusting. You can’t hide protesting players in a locker room. Taking away a platform to protest won’t last long. I’m appalled that a league I love gave into bigoted racism that comes from these owners. I have massive respect for the players who refuse to back down.
— Matticus Finch⚜️⚜️ (@mattforrest_1) May 23, 2018
This tweet is also correct in that you can’t hide the protesting players. They may not protest during the Anthem but they will find other ways to protest you can be assured of that.
Let’s be really clear here. This decision by the owners of the NFL is about ratings (money) and control. This is about mass market appeal to those who were offended and stopped watching games. What really bothers me though is that what the NFL is doing is curbing the free speech of the players while at the same time forcing patriotism upon them.
Comments from the Steelers’ Art Rooney II… “Those who are not comfortable standing for the anthem have the right to stay off the field,” Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II said. “We’re not forcing anybody to stand who doesn’t feel that that’s within the way they feel about particular subjects. But those that are on the field are going to be asked to stand. We’ve listened to a lot of different viewpoints, including our fans, over the last year. I think this policy is meant to come out at a place where we’re respecting everybody’s point of view on this as best we could.”
For me personally, I choose to stand for the National Anthem. I also respect those who choose not to because it is a protected right guaranteed by our first amendment. We cannot have rights that we utilize only when they are convenient to us. They are either all or nothing and we have to understand that we must take what we don’t like about our freedoms with what we do like.
I will not stop watching the NFL because of this issue. I do not watch it to see the Anthem anyway. I watch it for my enjoyment and apparently not enough people do that anymore. Today’s announcement will solve little in my opinion. It will only further divide Americans and the players from the teams. This issue is far from settled.