The NFL’s anti-American anthem protests did severe damage to the league’s brand.
After pressure from Donald Trump and patriotic fans, Commissioner Roger Goodell finally took action and changed the league’s National Anthem policy.
But some players are furious over the new rule and could be plotting something divisive in response.
The NFL previously required players to be on the field during the singing of the National Anthem but had no policy in place forcing the players to stand.
The league recently changed the rules, allowing players to remain in the locker room during the anthem, but requiring them to stand and show respect if they come onto the field.
Activist players and left-wing media predictably went berserk over the benign rule change. Now there’s talk some players could be planning a big protest to defy Trump and the new policy.
The NFL’s new policy requiring players to stand for the national anthem or stay in the locker room, has some players scheming ways to get around the rule, according to Sports Illustrated’s Robert Klemko.
“What I’m hearing from players: Those who weren’t planning demonstrations for next season are now back in the conversation, discussing ways to skirt to new rules ‘just to spite the NFL,’” Klemko tweeted.
Some might wonder why you would want to “spite” the people who pay your salary.
Many players feel it’s their First Amendment right to protest the anthem.
“What NFL owners did [Wednesday] was thwart the players’ rights to express themselves,” Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said in a statement.
That’s actually not accurate. The First Amendment doesn’t apply to private companies.
And private companies generally don’t like when employees cost them money. And according to some NFL’s clubs, the anthem protests have cost them business.
Indianapolis Colts COO Pete Ward recently blamed the team’s poor season-ticket numbers on the anthem protest.
“I’m unable to quantify a number, but it is a factor – to some extent – in our renewals,” Ward told the Indianapolis Business Journal.
Baltimore Ravens President Dick Cass admitted the players protesting on foreign soil, before a Ravens-Jacksonville Jaguars game in London last September, led to a “significant number of no-shows” later in the season.
“We had the poor showing in London, complicated by the kneeling of a dozen players during the national anthem,” Cass wrote in a letter to season-ticket holders. “That became an emotional and divisive issue. We know that hurt some of you. Others saw it differently and welcomed the dialogue that followed. Others bluntly told us to keep statements and protests out of the game. There are some of you who have stayed away from our games.”
Recently, the Ravens significantly cut the stadium concession prices to help draw fans back.
But for some reason, there are players who don’t seem that concerned with the business side of the sport.
However, if the NFL ticket sales and TV ratings continue to go down, it will hurt the players in their next collective bargaining agreement. Their current CBA expires in 2021.
So if players look for ways to “spite” the NFL and still protest, they could end up spiting themselves in their future paychecks.
The players and left-wing media both need a refresher course on the First Amendment. Protesting players’ free speech rights aren’t being infringed upon.
Freedom of speech protects against government suppression or compulsion. Private businesses are allowed to set their own company guidelines.
Ironically, the NFL’s new policy is less stringent than the previous one that required players to be on the field during the anthem. Now they don’t have to be. What’s even more ironic is the NBA is being lauded for its handling of the anthem issue when their policy is far stricter; NBA players must not only stand for the anthem, they’re not even allowed to sway or chew gum.
And NFL players are still allowed to protest, but their team will incur a fine.
Some teams have already said they will pay the fine if their players decide to protest, which is an amazing show of goodwill considering the fans demonstrably do not like the protests.
The players want to protest and be commended for it at the same time. That’s not how protest works.