Unapologetically Me

My Thoughts on NFL's New Anthem Policy

The NFL had quite the week announcing several changes to policies and rules. Some of the biggest changes were what constitutes as an illegal tackle and more importantly the dreaded discussion of whether or not players can kneel during the National Anthem to protest injustices in the United States.

In short, the rules basically states the following…

Players and teams could face fines or suspensions if any personnel chooses to kneel or sit during the National Anthem. However, personnel can remain in the locker for the National Anthem.

Of course, there was an outcry from both sides of the fence. Totally expected that. I am here to not only criticize both sides, but I am also here to set the record straight for several misconceptions out there and give my thoughts on the matter.

“It is unconstitutional for the NFL to ban protests.” 

I want to start with those who say the NFL players have every right to protest and what the NFL is doing is unconstitutional and infringes on their 1st Amendment rights.

First off…no, it fucking doesn’t. The first Amendment protects these players from being incarcerated or removed from the country. However, it does not protect them from disciplinary action in the workplace. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom of consequence with employers, especially private companies.

The NFL has every right to tell their employees what to do and how to act. If you don’t follow accordingly, they can terminate you. That is typically the way a job works.

The only way the NFL would not be able to implement a policy which bans protesting when these athletes are working is if they had a stipulation in their contract with the NFL Player’s Association, which they don’t.

If the NFL wanted to make the rule that players are forced to stand with their hands on their hearts during the anthem, they absolutely could. This would not be a violation of any rights. In fact, telling the NFL they can’t is a violation of their rights as a private business.

For those screaming unconstitutional, you are wrong, period.

“Anyone who kneels should be deported.” 

Ironically, this was a statement from President Donald J. Trump and it is just laughable. The country voted for a guy who doesn’t understand how the first amendment works…fucking brilliant. Even worse, plenty of the right agree as based on the comment section on FOX News. For the record, comments on leftist pages like MSNBC, CNN and Huff Post are equally annoying.

Despite what I said about workplace discipline, these guys have every right to still go out there and protest without punishment from the law. No they should not be deported. No, they should not have citizenship taken away. No, they should not be treated as un-American.

In fact, they are doing the most American things they can do. Exercising their freedom of speech despite the backlash they will receive.

If you don’t agree with the stance, don’t watch. Something a lot of people have done as evidenced by the ratings dropping over the past two seasons. That is your right, just like the players have every right to protest without being punished by the government.

“You can protest and help in other ways without being spoiled crybabies.”

Two years later, I am still waiting for the how on this one.

Most common answers are press conferences and giving back. They do those things all the time and it hasn’t created a two year debate yet. Kneeling has. So try again. That is the simple response. Just answer me how and I will give a further answer on this.

“It is disrespectful to the military.” 

One of my biggest beefs with many people are statements like these. It is a blanket statement that paints a false picture of the entire military. Why is it disrespectful to the military?

I have several friends who serve or have served and the majority of my friends have no problem with what the athletes are doing.

When Colin Kaepernick first sat for the anthem, it caused an uproar. He then spoke with US Army Veteran Nate Boyer who told him kneeling would be a less disrespectful way to get his message across. A direct quote from Boyer’s instagram was the following…

“We sorta came to a middle ground where he would take a knee alongside his teammate. Soldiers take a knee in front of a fallen brother’s grave, you know, to show respect. When we’re on a patrol, you know, and we go into a security halt, we take a knee, and we pull security.”

We kneel to pray. We kneel to profess our love to our SO. We kneel to show signs of respect for so many reasons. This is a way to honor fallen vets and acknowledging the anthem in order to get a message across protesting injustices.

For the people saying this, I am also willing to bet on Sundays that you are not “honoring” the military by standing up. You’re screaming about those kneeling while sitting on your couch.

I thought it was so disrespectful to not stand.

What is going to happen?

I am willing to bet players will not show up for the anthem before the game which in turn is going to create an outcry from those who are anti-protest during the National Anthem. If the athletes don’t come out on the field, they are going to be labeled as disrespectful anyway.

My favorite part about that will be the fact that teams weren’t on the field for the anthem prior to 2009 anyway. This is a classic case of someone being offended because they are told to be. #Triggered

What makes a good protest is pushing the envelope even if it means consequences could await at the door for you. The NFL is clearly pushing back at their players to help preserve their pockets.

What would be another interesting turn in this story is if the players and coaches banded together and star players (mainly quarterbacks) began participating in the kneeling. At that point, what would the NFL do? We would find out how far the NFL is willing to push. Strength lies in numbers.

Imagine a QB match up like Chase Daniel v Colt McCoy week after week. Eventually, the NFL would have to do something because they would be losing money by not having stars on the field anyway.

In other words, to those who are just following the pack (no matter which side) on this issue without taking into consideration previous rules and current laws…






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