NFL football players sparked a lot of controversy in 2017 with their frequent protests during the pre-game national anthem. While choosing to dishonor the American Flag, anthem, and country that afforded them the prosperity they enjoy, the players claimed they were protesting racism and police brutality. Many still toted the false narrative of “hands up don’t shoot” derived from the police shooting of criminal Michael Brown in Ferguson Missouri back in 2014.
Countless devoted NFL fans were so outraged by the disrespect for America that they boycotted the NFL, and apparently, the boycott was effective. On May 23rd, 2018, the National Football League announced that players would no longer be allowed to protest in the upcoming season. The NFL stated that all players on the field must stand for the national anthem, or remain in their locker rooms until the anthem is complete.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell participated in a news conference where he announced that teams who disobey the new rule will be fined. Goodell talked about the league’s spring meeting and said that the vote taken on the matter was unanimous, but later the San Fransisco 49ers said that they had abstained from the vote. The 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, sparked the protest controversy back in 2016 when he was the first to refuse to stand for the national anthem. The owner of the 49ers, Jed York, promised to meet with his team “to make sure everything we do is about promoting the right types of social justice reform and getting to a better America.”
Goodell stated on behalf of the NFL- “We think we’ve come up with a balanced process here in our procedure and policy. We’d like for all [players] to be on the field and stand at attention.” In another statement, he made it clear that the NFL is for entertainment purposes, not politics. “We believe today’s decision will keep our focus on the game and the extraordinary athletes who play it — and on our fans who enjoy it.”
Many NFL players are outraged at the new policy, and are trying to find ways around the rules.
NBC’s Craig Melvin said on the Today Show- “I talked to a former NFL player yesterday who has said that players are already talking about other ways in which they can protest.”
Journalist Jim Trotter tweeted out “While admittedly a small sample size, some players are telling me they’re *considering* staying in locker room or making a different on-field gesture simply b/c they feel this new policy is a direct challenge to them. Before today, they hadn’t thought about demonstrating in ’18.”
Sports Illustrated journalist Robert Klemko tweeted out- “What I’m hearing from players: Those who weren’t planning demonstrations for next season are now back in the conversation, discussing ways to skirt to new rules “just to spite the NFL.”
It appears that for many NFL players, protesting is less about a social justice cause and more about their egos. To spit on the rules of the NFL and find ways to protest simply because the league has requested that they do not is childish and immature.
The NFL has provided each and every one of these athletes with opportunities for incredible careers and jaw-dropping success. It is well within the rights of the league to require a standard of patriotic behavior from the players, their employees, and to have consequences in place for those employees who choose to defy the standards.
The decision to institute this no-kneel policy is a result of a collective vote of all NFL team owners, with the exception of the 49ers who abstained from voting at all. The end tally was a whopping 31 to 0 in favor of the new policy.
Ultimately, the NFL just wants the focus back on football.
Thrusting the league into the center of political turmoil was detrimental to their ratings, especially because the stance of the protesting players was offensive not only to patriotic Americans, but to the American Dream itself.
“I think putting the focus back on the game, making sure all personnel stand on the field and honor the flag and the moment [is important],” said Michael Bidwill, a member of the NFL’s social justice committee and president of the Cardinals. “We’re looking forward to getting the focus back on football.”
America is an incredible nation that allows for anyone to achieve the American Dream through dedication, perseverance, and hard work.
Every single NFL player has America and American freedoms to thank for his success, his career, and his lifestyle.
“Our objective as a league is that we want people to be respectful of the national anthem,” Roger Goodell said, “We want people to stand and make sure they treat this moment in a respectful fashion.”
Hopefully this is a turning point for NFL. Football is an American tradition, and it’s loved nationwide by millions of absolute patriots. As long as the NFL chooses to respect the flag, the anthem, and the land of liberty, absolute patriots will support it and enjoy the game.