On May 23, the NFL announced its new policy that requires all players and league personnel to stand for the anthem if they are on the field, otherwise they are allowed to wait in the locker room until its conclusion, the league reports, which supposedly ends the two year history of players kneeling during the national anthem.
This is particularly out of place because by the end of the 2017-2018 season, only 7 players were left kneeling. Plus, the league’s player’s association was not given the chance to weigh in on the matter.
“The union’s claim is that this new policy, imposed by the NFL‘s governing body without consultation with the NFLPA, is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on player rights,” the NFLPA said in a statement on July 10.
However, pressure from the POTUS obviously had some influence on the NFL’s decision. He previously called for all kneeling players jobs and referred to them as SOBs. And now, his ridicule of the new policy states, “Isn’t that worse than not standing? You know? I think that’s worse,” reports The New York Post.
Gee, NFL, it’s as if the puppet master constructed you as Kermit the Frog only to treat you as Miss Piggy since he’s playing both sides.
And… the ref blows the whistle: July 19, the NFL walked back the policy amid crossfire when the Dolphins announced that kneeling players could be suspended up to 4 games.
It’s as if losing projected revenue from fans of the suspended players for four games is more important than freedom of speech and the right to protest. Mm, a concept.
Currently in a lull, there is no acting policy to date, however, both the NFL and the NFLPA are working together to create a mutually beneficial solution. At any rate, the NFL rescinding it’s new anthem policy that was laughable at best doesn’t end the kneeling controversy. If anything, it underscores Bill Rhoden’s book 40 Million Dollar Slaves and highlights the immobility in which athletes are expected to subscribe to pre-approved behavior. Throwing a football with perfect spiral, great! OBJ’s one-handed catches for a touchdown, incredible! Winning a championship while injured because it shows true toughness, to die for!
Colin Kaepernick kneeling and catalyzing a two year movement… ehh, this needs to be discussed.
Football— and all athletics really— have very regimented schedules: What time to show up, what time to leave; what to wear, where to shower; what to eat, how to speak to the media; what’s out of bounds versus what’s in bounds; when should the clock be running versus when it’s stopped. It even boils down to where one can step in order for a touchdown to count. The NFL precedents based on rules that regulate player performance. The minute someone places their knee outside of the predetermined covenant— Kaepernick, Eric Reid Eli Harold— this too needs to be controlled.
The caucasity… excuse me, I mean the audacity of the NFL to try and set parameters around protests is unconstitutional at best and unconscionable at worse. Sure, the league is a private sector and can accordingly create their own governing laws, however, the kneeling isn’t about respecting the flag or the military, which are the reasons that the NFL site to enact their now retracted rule. Regardless of employer, the right to protest extends to every constituent including NFL players. More so, however, the fact that the NFL’s stance on anthem procedures is coming as the president’s proxy instead of as an independent entity opens the door for additional scrutiny.
So now, the original intent of kneeling for criminal justice reform and investigative work into police brutality against Black and brown folks is replaced with Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and the rest of the muppets prancing around as if they have real power.
If the NFL can so easily fold at the droppings of the president, than the league is more than equipped with capable players and personnel to think up a sustainable resolution together. For example, Malcolm Jenkins and the players’ coalition recently closed a $90 million deal with the league that funds programs and initiatives dedicated to combating social inequality, the NFL reports.
Ahh… when protests translate to programs… we need more of this.
This is truly America’s greatest pastime.