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The NFL's Brand-Spankin' New Position on Protest

Robert Franklin

Posted on May 24, 2018 17:35

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After two seasons of players protesting police brutality during the National Anthem, Roger Goodell and many of the NFL's team owners have finally explained where the league stands in regard to these protests. In a hole already deep, the league is digging even deeper...

Yesterday, the NFL released a six-point plan that made clear where the league stands on their players protesting police brutality and racial inequality during the National Anthem. League Commissioner Roger Goodell has called it a "compromise," even though the owners who "unanimously" approved the new rules apparently didn't actually vote on them and the Player's Association wasn't even consulted. The decision has sent shockwaves through professional sports, eliciting responses from sports commentators, NFL players, and even personalities like Steve Kerr, head coach of the NBA's Golden State Warriors.

This plan will not end the league's two-year public relations nightmare, as it pertains to the protests. If anything, the league just dug their own grave a little deeper.

According to the statement released by the league, it is now mandatory for players on the field during the National Anthem to stand during it. Players and personnel who choose to protest have now been relegated to places off the field, meaning locker rooms and other facilities free of cameras, fans, and the gaze of old, white billionaires more concerned about their bank accounts than their players voices. If a player or member of team personnel decides to protest on the field, the entire organization is fined, meaning that if Kenny Stills, for example, resumes protesting this year on the field, the entire Miami Dolphins organization is fined by the NFL.

The above is what the NFL came up with after humoring other possible acts of retribution against players protesting during the National Anthem. Other ideas included assessing 15-yard penalties on teams whose players protested during the anthem (this is the yardage penalty assessed for "personal fouls," such as facemask penalties and unsportsmanlike conduct), and allowing the home team to be the final arbiter on National Anthem policy before games.

The league's new policy makes no mention of whether or not action will be taken against fans who take a leak or buy a beer during the National Anthem. Since money is at the core of this controversy, it seems unlikely.

While a significant portion of the pro sports community is concerned and angered by the rule change, the NFL and the owners have at least one major personality in their corner. President Trump has applauded the league's stand, telling the automatons at Fox & Friends that "the NFL owners did the right thing."

Unfortunately, since NFL teams are private companies, players cannot invoke the First Amendment here. It doesn't seem likely that the players will be given back the ability to protest during the National Anthem while on the field. The owners seem to hate it and the commissioner is their mouthpiece. However, the players could force the owners' hands in 2021, when a new collective bargaining agreement needs to be agreed upon by the NFL and its players. If player censorship and segregation continues to be an important issue, the league may want to re-examine their position, lest they run the risk of another work stoppage.

Robert Franklin

Posted on May 24, 2018 17:35

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Source: WBRZ

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