The NFL owners have voted their economic interests and are now requiring players to stand if on the field during the national anthem. Teams can be fined for player non-compliance and the Commissioner has the option of additional disciplinary measures. Apparently it was a unanimous vote with the exception of Jed York, owner of the San Francisco 49er’s who abstained from voting. Eagles defensive end Chris Long was quick to say that owners were only looking at their bottom line. He’s probably right since the anthem protest led to a significant drop in television ratings of 10-15% year to year in both 2016 & 2017. Although players state their protest has nothing to do with the flag and patriotism, fans see it differently. Most Americans are patriotic and see the American Flag as a symbol of the freedoms we all enjoy. Those freedoms were purchased with the blood of those who fought and died for us on foreign soil. In referring to the new pregame rule, Roger Goodell stated that the pregame ceremonies should be honored in a respectful fashion. As an alternative, players can remain in the locker room during the playing of the national anthem. This is actually a common practice before college games. Remaining in the locker room would be more acceptable to fans than the sight of players kneeling or raising clenched fists in the air. Players have yet to convince me (and many others) that kneeling during the national anthem will bring about social justice. How many of the protesting players have actually done any meaningful work to achieve social justice?
These athletes are paid handsomely to play a game. Owners are concerned over the bottom line, but players should be as well. If players alienate the fan base, they will be out of a high-paying job. I don’t believe players will end their protests following the latest league threat. These are individuals who have been pampered and received special treatment for years because of their physical skills. Some of them did not obtain a college degree yet believe they are more knowledgeable than the general public. Players may be employed by the owners, but they work for the fans. Our military stood for freedom, the least players can do is stand for two minutes of the national anthem.