The NFL’s ‘Anthem Policy’ Is Pure Hypocrisy

The NFL’s new “anthem policy” requires players to “respect” the flag and the national anthem or stay in the locker room until it is played. The NFL refers to this as a compromise — it was anything but. 

This was a mandate, not a decision arrived at through a collaborative process. Despite claiming that they would consult with the players before making a decision on this issue, the National Football League Players Association said, “The NFL chose to not consult the union in the development of this new ‘policy.’” So the league and owners will decide what shows “respect.”  

Kneeling is out. The Pittsburgh Steelers indicated that raising a fist or linking arms is out. If one team decides a gesture or posture is respectful but another team doesn’t like it, what will happen? One of the NFL officials actually said, “We will know it when we see it.”  

Tell the NFL: Don't Silence Your Players

Players who want to kneel (or raise a fist or link arms or do some other kind of gesture) are told, “If you do that on the field we will take money away from you.” This is simply a variation of an old, familiar theme. Don’t demonstrate in the street because you block my commute home. Don’t demonstrate downtown, I have shopping to do. Don’t demonstrate at a sporting event because you take away from my entertainment. Why can’t you all just shut up and dribble? 

Telling players to stay in the locker room also rings familiar as well — get to the back of the bus. Get to the other water fountain. Do not appear in public in ways that will threaten or displease white people in America. If you want to protest, do it in a way that white folks don’t have to see it or deal with your claimed injustices.  

And with the collusion to keep Colin Kaepernick out of the league combined with teams asking free agents if they will stand during the anthem, another message is being delivered. Be thankful you are making all that money — you play a game for a living. If we didn’t allow you to be making this money, you would be out there with the rest of “them.” 

President Donald Trump weighed in on players staying in the locker room saying, “Maybe you should not be in the country.” In a country that claims to value free speech and expression, you should be fined or forced to leave the country if you “speak” in a way some don’t like. Orwell would have loved it. 

John Elway and other NFL officials have said that we should “take the politics out of football.” Really? What about the millions of dollars paid to the NFL by the Department of Defense to promote the military? If encouraging people not to serve in the military is a political act, then encouraging them to serve is equally political. What about the show of military aircraft flying overhead and flags streaming across the field? Kneeling during the anthem has nothing to do with being for or against military recruiting, but the Pentagon paid for the NFL to promote the military — an overtly political act — and the NFL has been delivering. There is nothing wrong with that, but it is what it is. The NFL gave up being non-political a long time ago. 

The NFL said the new policy would change “a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic.” Think about that for a minute. There was a false perception that players were unpatriotic, meaning the players kneeling were patriotic. The cure for this false perception is to force players to stand when they would prefer to kneel. By forcing them to stand, the fans will now know they are patriotic. This makes no sense. 

Only one team has said they will stop selling concessions during the anthem. It does not appear that the suspending the selling of beer, hotdogs, banners, and the like was even considered by the group. I guess it is not disrespectful to leave your seat and miss the anthem in order to get a dog and a beer. After all, there is money to be made. And no disrespect is shown by the fans at home who go to the bathroom, grab another beer, or set up the snacks during the anthem. The respect that must be shown must come from the players. 

Houston Texans owner Bob McNair told players last year, “You fellas need to ask your compadres, fellas, stop that other business, let’s go out and do something that really produces positive results, and we’ll help you.” Much has been made of the NFL setting aside money for social justice. The money was not new money to support communities, but re-allocating already designated charitable funds from one issue (breast cancer) to another (social justice). This is what caring means to an institution which was forecast to hit $14 billion in gross revenue last year. 

If people are serious about making a difference, they use whatever platform they have to make that clear. The NFL released its new policy at the same time news was breaking about NBA player Sterling Brown being abused and tased by officers of the Milwaukee Police Department. This is the kind of incident that started the protests. The NFL did not mention this incident in any of its messaging. Apparently speaking out about police abuse in the Black community isn’t something they are interested in during the offseason either. 

View comments (51)
Read the Terms of Use

Anonymous

It is sad that the players display such disrespect for their countries’s flag. It just makes the USA look weak to other countries. They are not the gods they portray themselves to be. If they lost their careers and $$$ , or have lost a family member to war, they would stand. So sad

Candice Bouchard

Not respecting the American flag and anthem is terrible. Men and women have died for our country.Football and football players should be ashamed.GOD created blacks and whites, it's time we all realized. WE NEED TO UNITE INTO ONE

akeya

perfect. I agree 100%.thank you for this.

akeya

I'm convinced white people love the flag, military, police way more than they care two cent about us being murdered in the streets by racist white pigs. Ignorant 400 years ago and nothing has changed.

Rand Voss

Do NFL players and coaches have a Constitutional right to act in this way, to kneel, etc., in those particular circumstances?

Can they rightfully--Constitutionally--be prevented from acting in this way? Can they be fired?

Per the ACLU's own website the owner or renter of a property has the Constitutional right to expel anyone from such property whose conduct they deem unacceptable.

The ACLU website states that, for example, the person renting an auditorium, or stadium, to deliver a speech, may expel any hecklers or protestors or even someone for simply wearing a t-shirt with a slogan that the property owner or renter takes issue with.

The heckler or protester does not, in those circumstances, have any Constitutional right to act as they choose.

Those who own or lease or rent the Stadium have every Right to prevent such protests. Per the law. Per the nation's highest law, the Constitution.

Per the ACLU's own website!

Repeatedly upheld in the Courts across America.

Dependent upon terms of contract, they may Constitutionally be fired.

That ACLU Deputy Legal Director in 2018 does not know this reveals the ACLU's nauseating intellectual and moral decline.

Average Working...

Anonymous worded it well. If I demonstrate at either of my two (yep average citizen) jobs, I will be disciplined / fired. The players are “on the clock” to whoever signs their lavish salaries. I barely make enough to buy a (one) ticket to a game a year after keeping family feed / housed. The flag they kneel under was also flying at all the games in which they made such salaries but yet they still cashed their checks. A suggestion I would support is two pronged- 1-they may kneel but only if they return any salary earned under the flag they protest -2- there be a system of games where no flag is flown and all who wish to play / participate in do so and the supporting fans attend. Win Win , no one’s offended and fans dollars follow their desires. Thanks for the freedom to exchange our thoughts and our own non-censored speech. God Bless These United States!

Average Working...

Thanks for publishing my previous post with the idea to resolve the kneeling issue (please see above if you haven’t yet) one last detail of the proposal of solving the kneeling by a no-flag event etc would be to have no municipal or state law enforcement present, as the same individuals that are offended by the flag also protest against the police, problem solved. If the providers of the no-flag venue wish, they could perhaps pay for security or crowd protection , not that it would be needed at the function. The fans that follow would probably behave. Again, Thanks for the platform to voice my ideas. God Bless These United States!

Old timer

I don’t recall seeing all these people supporting the troops when we returned from Vietnam, why is it so hard to accept that there may be a problem with how the police interact with the black community. People know there are good police how about holding the ones who abuse the authority accountable, why is that such a hard sentiment? Should athletes who earn lots of dollars ignore social issues. I’m a veteran who loves America and understand their concerns, unfortunately most have already made up their mind and refuse to objectively look at what those with different views are saying.

Anonymous

there was no need for a policy until the players decided to make their own rules these guys make good money I have yet to see one of them spend a dime making a commercial or start a cause for their beliefs must just be easier to use the bosses money to get free tv coverage let's get real if it was really meaningful to them they could do it on their dime not mine

Anonymous

Wrong, the league had no problem until Trump threatened to take away the Nfls tax breaks. That's a 1st Amendment violation. Then the league changed the rules without consulting the players union which is a violation of contract.

Pages

Stay Informed