by Daveda Gruber:
On Wednesday a long awaited decision was made about controversial kneeling during the ‘National Anthem’ before an NFL game.
The National Football League approved a policy that would fine teams and league personnel who did not “stand show respect for the flag and the Anthem.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement,
that the policy was approved “in concert with the NFL”s ongoing commitment to local communities and our country.”
The policy statement reads, “the 32 member clubs of the National Football League have reaffirmed their strong commitment to work alongside our players to strengthen our communities and advance social justice.”
The following requirements that the teams agreed to are as follows.
1. All team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.
2. The Game Operations Manual will be revised to remove the requirement that all players be on the field for the anthem.
3. Personnel who choose not to stand for the anthem may stay in the locker room or in a similar location off the field until after the anthem has been performed.
4. A club will be fined by the League if its personnel are on the field and do not stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.
5. Each club may develop its own work rules, consistent with the above principles, regarding its personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.
6. The commissioner will impose appropriate discipline on league personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.
Goodell said that the “efforts by many of our players sparked awareness and action around issues of social justice that must be addressed” but it was unfortunate that “on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic.”
He added, “This is not and was never the case.”
The policy comes into effect after the protests that were started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick started kneeling during the anthem as part of a protest against police brutality during the 2016-2017 NFL season. The strongly disputed action was later taken by other players around the league.
The kneeling set off powerful arguments across the country. It also brought criticism from President Trump.
The league volunteered to pay close to $100 million to social justice causes supported by some players. This came in spite of critics’ claims that it was meant purely to appease activist athletes.
During an October meeting in New York City, NFL players defended Kaepernick and criticized league owners and demanded to know why the former 49ers player was, they thought, was being blackballed.
NFL owners met this week to consider the new policy.
The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) released a statement in regards to the policy.
The statement read, “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 NFLPA said the vote by the owners “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.”
So what do you think? Will the kneeling stop? Will we be able to, once again, hear our ‘National Anthem’ and see the players stand before a football game? Will we watch football again? Only time will tell.