The NFL, National Anthem and Players Kneeling
The NFL has spoken and they decided to thread the needle.
Sports Illustrated is reporting that the NFL owners voted, unanimously, in an attempt to settle the National Anthem/kneeling controversy that plagued the league last season. They voted to remove the requirements for players to be present on the field during the National Anthem. Instead, if they are disgusted with our country, they have the option of staying in the locker rooms as the National Anthem is being played.
They also voted to fine the team if any players "do not show proper respect for the flag and Anthem”. In a statement by the NFL they stated that the new policy is:
All team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem. The Game Operations Manual will be revised to remove the requirement that all players be on the field for the Anthem. 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.
The NFL also decided that any team could choose to enact their own policy concerning the conduct of their players and team personal on the national anthem. In that policy they could enforce an additional punishment under their conduct detrimental rules clause.
Roger Goodell, the NFL Commissioner issued the following statement:
The policy adopted today was approved in concert with the NFL’s ongoing commitment to local communities and our country — one that is extraordinary in its scope, resources, and alignment with our players. We are dedicated to continuing our collaboration with players to advance the goals of justice and fairness in all corners of our society. The efforts by many of our players sparked awareness and action around issues of social justice that must be addressed. The platform that we have created together is certainly unique in professional sports and quite likely in American business. We are honored to work with our players to drive progress. It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic. This is not and was never the case. This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem. Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room until after the Anthem has been performed. 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.
Apparently the commissioner can choose to impose appropriate discipline on league personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the national anthem. Interesting that he did not choose to do so last year.
The response from the NFL Players Association was the following which was issued via a statement:
The NFL chose not to consult the union in the development of this new "policy".. The NFL players have shown their patriotism through their social activism, their community service, in support of our military and law enforcement and yes, through their protests to raise awareness about the issues they care about. The vote by NFL club CEOs today contradicts the statements made to our player leadership by Commissioner Roger Goodell and the Chairman of the NFL's Management Council John Mara about the principles, values, and patriotism of our league. Our union will review the new "policy" and challenge any aspect of it that is inconsistent wth the collective bargaining agreement.
I think it is interesting that the NFL Players Association stated that “NFL players have shown their patriotism through their social activism, their community service, in support of our military and law enforcement and yes, through their protests to raise awareness about the issues they care about” yet I have not heard anything from these players since the season ended. Apparently their protest was limited to their on-field antics.
Did you know that there is a NFL policy that states players "should" stand for the National Anthem but apparently that rule is not in their collective bargaining agreement? That “policy” is under the league's game operations manual, which doesn't need to be collectively bargained.
Interesting that such “smart” people would make a policy that uses the word “should”. Would they use the word “should” in any of the penalties the referees call on the field?
By the way there where more than 200 players last season that either refused to stand for the National Anthem or stayed choose to stay in the locker room out of disrespect and disgust for our country, the people who fight for it and the people who have died for their right to, well, kneel during the National Anthem and now get fined.
Interesting that in stating their new policy they did not inform us of the monetary fine that the team would receive if a player or personal does not stand during the National Anthem.
Will it be a progressive fine or just a flat fine per team occurrence or player?
What do you believe should happen or not to players or team personnel who do not stand during the playing of our National Anthem?
Should the National Anthem be played at any sporting event?