Well, to be fair, we can’t expect the NFL to be the voice of the masses, can we?
So this is the new rule that is supposedly a good compromise from the NFL. You either stand for the anthem or be in the locker room if you don’t want to stand. It’s easier this way as the NFL will hide away all those players who they deem controversial. Or just try to help remind us that Colin Kaepernick was screwed out of a job just for this very reason.
The anthem hasn’t always been played before games. It has only become such a big deal, especially in the NFL, in trying to put this image that the sport cares about their military. I don’t deny that there is a lot of respect for the armed forces and that the league loves America, but it’s hard to fathom how much of this new rule is about that or is it to uphold a certain image.
It would be easy just to not play the anthem at all. But that would hurt the high-profile image the NFL has created for itself. They don’t want to deal with another season of controversy and confusion. They can’t handle that. They don’t want that. (And if it gets too hot, let the club owners create their own rules.)
So here we are. A rule set in place to silence those who don’t even speak during the anthem. A move that will indeed cause a lot more problems. Teammates will have issues with one another on who is staying and who is going out. There will be some rogue players who will take a knee on the sidelines regardless. They’ll fight the fine and the NFL will endure more trouble. The whole point of protesting is to be seen, not to hide away.
Brushing away the protests into the locker room isn’t going to make things better. It’s only a small fix that will eventually fade away and another discussion will begin. With the NFL already suffering from fans questioning the owners’ integrity on this issue, expect more of the same going forward. It’s a bigger issue than just sending players away to the locker room just so they can’t be seen.
This new ruling solves no problems. It will just invite more.