NFL backs down on anthem kneeling rule
Earlier this year the NFL owners caved to pressure from President Trump regarding football players' silent protests against racial injustice.
Yesterday the billionaire owners flip-flopped.
In May, the NFL mandated all players must stand for the national anthem and if they didn't, teams could discipline them.
The Miami Dolphins were the first to outline their policy. In a form known as "proper anthem conduct" leaked to the Associated Press on Thursday, players are warned they could be fined and benched for up to four games.
Soon after that became public, the NFL and the Players Association put the brakes on the entire policy.
In a joint statement they are now saying: "No new rules relating to the anthem will be issued or enforced for the next several weeks while these confidential discussions are ongoing."
A four game suspension for quietly kneeling. Let's put that into perspective.
This is a league, keep in mind, which just last month announced that it was suspending Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston for only three games for sexually assaulting an Uber driver). But within hours of the revelation, the Dolphins—and the NFL—were reeling.
The owner of the Dolphins is Stephen Ross. In addition to being worth close to $8 billion, he is known for starting an organization called RISE, which, as journalist Aaron W. Gordon spotted, boasts on its website that it is a “nonprofit organization dedicated to harnessing the unifying power of sports to improve race relations and drive social progress.” Ross is also someone who said that he was in support of the players’ right to protest—or did before the orange smear in the White House started to yip. As he said in his deposition taken as part of the Colin Kaepernick grievance case, “I was totally supportive of [the players] until Trump made his statement.”
So the owners are terrified of Trump. They don't necessarily agree with the policy.
New York Giants co-owner Steve Tisch said of Trump, “He has no understanding of why they take a knee or why they’re protesting."
He also said that no Giants players would be punished for violating the rule.
Trump's go-to move to generate new headlines: Stir up the NFL National Anthem controversy https://t.co/euEJIhzUDE
— Philip Rucker (@PhilipRucker) 20 July 2018
What Tisch doesn't understand is that Trump couldn't give a sh*t less why the players are protesting. To Trump this is all just a political football.
Even after the owners gave Trump what he wanted, he moved the goal posts in order to stir things up again.
And while he briefly praised the anthem rule, telling Fox News in May that “the NFL owners did the right thing,” it wasn’t long before he had settled on a new line of attack against the NFL.
It began in June, when Trump reignited the issue by disinviting the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles from the White House, claiming that the team “disagreed with their president because he insists that they proudly stand for the national anthem.” The Eagles never kneeled during the 2017 season. Trump would criticize the NFL again later that month, saying that he didn’t think players were protesting “a real issue.”
In the weeks since, Trump — who reportedly told Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones that attacking the protests was a “winning” issue — continues to criticize the new anthem policy at rallies. During a July 5 rally in Montana, Trump suggested that the policy was “worse” than letting players kneel. If you don’t respect the flag or you don’t like the country or whatever it is, just go into the locker room,” Trump said. “Just go into the locker room. I think in many respects that’s worse. Isn’t that worse than having them not standing?”
The real danger for the owners is that the players will call their bluff.
Three-time All-Pro Tennessee Titans defensive end Jurrell Casey has already said that he would kneel.
As for the kneeling, my question is, "When has anyone, anywhere ever intended to disrespect someone by kneeling?"
When a man proposes marriage to a woman? When someone kneels before their king?
When has anyone ever that hated their neighbor ever said, "I'll teach him. I'm going to kneel in front of him."
The whole outrage against people kneeling is idiotic.