Whether you agree with the decision or not, the NFL took a totalitarian approach to how to handle anthem protests.
The NFL and its owners passed a rule Wednesday where it’ll fine a team if their personnel on the field does not stand for the national anthem. The league also gives the clubs power to decide on their own anthem policy — deciding how to discipline the player protesting. And in an attempt to be fair, the league is allowing players to stay in the locker room if they want to protest.
Hey, the league can do whatever they want. It’s their rules. Their policies.
“Those who are not comfortable standing for the anthem have the right to stay off the field,” Pittsburgh Steelers owner Art Rooney II said via the Washington Post. “We’re not forcing anybody to stand who doesn’t feel that that’s within the way they feel about particular subjects. But those that are on the field are going to be asked to stand. We’ve listened to a lot of different viewpoints, including our fans, over the last year. I think this policy is meant to come out at a place where we’re respecting everybody’s point of view on this as best we could.”
Rooney is right. They aren’t forcing players to stand. But they do have the power to punish the players that do. Because, money.
The agreement among owners and the league upset the NFLPA. Why? The NFL did not include them in their decision. Below is the statement from the union.
The NFL chose to not consult the union in the development of this new “policy.” 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 with the collective bargaining agreement.
The NFL got their way. They accomplished their goal by doing what they want. Freedom was violated. And this was not the right way to go about it.