Today, the NFL declared that players must either stand or wait in the locker room during national anthem. No more kneeling. A unanimous 32-0 ruling by owners overruled NFL activists.
The NFL’s media, Judy Bautista claimed, “Anthem policy is compromise — if players are on sideline, will stand. But players may choose to stay in the locker room if they prefer not to stand.” Players will surely not see this as compromise but more so an infringement on their rights.
Most players previously kneeled for the anthem as a result of police brutality to African-Americans. Colin Kaepernick started the kneeling trend in the 2016 preseason saying, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media, “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.” It doesn’t look like Kaepernick will be signed to an NFL team anytime soon.
According to an ESPN poll asking “If they approve or disapprove of the recent NFL player protests.” 72 percent of African-American respondents either strongly approved or somewhat approved of the protests, whilst 62 percent of whites either somewhat disapproved or strongly disapproved.
Owners seem to be most interested in protecting their investment.
Owners realize that fans will not attend games because they disprove players kneeling during the anthem. They may have taken note of Mike Pence’s leave of absence after he viewed players kneel during the anthem. He stated, “The president and I believe that it’s not too much to ask that NFL players respect our soldiers, respect our flag, respect our national anthem. And that’s why we left.” Notably, the act of defiance cost local police $14,000, per WatchDog.
Adam Schefter confirmed that teams and players will be fined and players can choose to stay in the locker room. Exactly what the teams and players will be fined will be discussed as we approach the NFL preseason.
By giving the players the option to stay in the locker room, you are basically taking away their platform to protest, the field. It’s like giving a kid a timeout and the kid thinking, No I want to make a dramatic scene in front of a crowd. Ultimately, there will be no face in alignment with the actual protest. The owners are being childish by not confronting the real issue and resolving it in unison with the players. I presume NFL players will most likely find another way to protest.
I wonder if other sports will follow in place. Oakland Athletics Catcher Bruce Maxwell later followed in Kaepernick’s place by kneeling during the anthem in a September game. Maxwell’s parents are veterans and he sees it not as an act of defiance, but as his right to kneel for minorities mistreated by police.
Your move, players.