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.

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.

35 users have voted.


detroitmechworks's picture

Looks like they're hoping that "Pretend we're taking this seriously, and quietly blacklist anybody who takes a stand on the issue" policy isn't called out before the season starts.

Because while no "Official" policy exists, everything dismissal and retaliation can be blamed on something else. Expect a lot of protesting players to be caught with pot in their lockers, allegations from anybody bribable, and any other dirty trick that an employer who doesn't mind shelling out a few thousand bucks to save millions would pull.

11 users have voted.

I do not pretend I know what I do not know.

dance you monster's picture

A WWII Danish monarch who, when Jews were forced to wear yellow stars, wore one himself. The story is not true, as Danish Jews were never forced to wear the symbol, but to this day it's the thing most associated with this king -- and the reason he's revered around the world.

When will a team owner take the knee with his players, take a momentary hit on ticket sales from the redneck crowd, and win the hearts of everyone else?

17 users have voted.
ggersh's picture

@dance you monster

When you look at the inhumane treatment of Jews, not only in Germany but occupied countries as well, you start worrying that such a demand might also be put on us, but we must clearly refuse such this due to their protection under the Danish constitution. I stated that I could not meet such a demand towards Danish citizens. If such a demand is made, we would best meet it by all wearing the Star of David.

6 users have voted.

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." William Casey, CIA Director 1st staff meeting, 1981

The usa government only exists to govern the military

JekyllnHyde's picture

At least since the 1980s when Trump was the owner of the New Jersey Generals of the USFL, he has tried mightily to become a member of the NFL club by either forcing a merger or buy an existing NFL team. He has had no luck.

The final game in United States Football League history, a 28-24 victory by the Baltimore Stars over the Oakland Invaders, was played 30 years ago on July 14. The 1985 USFL championship game was held at Giants Stadium, home of the New Jersey Generals, who were owned by future presidential candidate Donald Trump. And it was Trump's strategy for the league that is widely considered to have led to its demise.

Since the USFL folded after the 1985 season, Trump has tried to get back into sports with mixed results. He held several big fights at the Trump Plaza in Atlantic City before it shut down. He also operates 17 golf courses around the world, but the PGA of America won't hold its Grand Slam of Golf at Trump National in Los Angeles after Trump's recent controversial comments about Mexican immigrants. The golf club in Puerto Rico bearing his name filed for bankruptcy this week. Last year, Trump tried to get back into football by buying the Buffalo Bills, but Sabres owner Terry Pegula landed the franchise for $1.4 billion. In fact, one reason Trump bought a USFL team to begin with was that he saw it as an opening into the NFL by way of a merger.

20 users have voted.

A riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma

thanatokephaloides's picture


And it was Trump's strategy for the league that is widely considered to have led to its demise.

What I fear will be said about his Presidency, as well....


7 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

thanatokephaloides's picture

The whole outrage against people kneeling is idiotic.

"Sweets for the sweet", n'est-ce pas? After all, almost everything about gridiron football is idiotic. One example: the "two hour minute warning".....


10 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

10 users have voted.

They say that there's a broken light for every heart on Broadway
They say that life's a game and then they take the board away
They give you masks and costumes and an outline of the story
And leave you all to improvise their vicious cabaret-- A. Moore

They are protesting the United States of America and showing their contempt for it's National Anthem. The National Anthem has absolutely nothing to do with racial injustice.

It's poking a stick into the eye of those who do respect the National Anthem.
I would stand for God Save the Queen at a British function even though I have no use for monarchy and aristocracy. And that would be a long way from refusing to stand because an Indian immigrant was beaten in Soho.

It's like me protesting my property taxes by refusing to stand for the anthem.

It's like protesting police brutality by refusing to let Bernie speak about Social Security.

It's turning the clock back seventy years on race relations.

1 user has voted.
TheOtherMaven's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

and while there are "official guidelines" recommending certain forms of behavior, they are unenforceable, have no penalties, and are as full of holes as Swiss cheese. (Jehovah's Witnesses, for instance, are exempted from singing the anthem and leave it up to the individual's "conscience" whether to stand or not.)

There have even been attempts to replace "The Star Spangled Banner" with something more appropriate - most recently the NAACP has objected to the little-known third stanza and asked Congress to do something about it, but since no one is sponsoring any such legislation, probably nothing will happen.

Previous favored suggestions have included "My Country 'Tis Of Thee" (same tune as "God Save The Queen), "America the Beautiful" (always popular but never by enough to move Congress), and Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land" (highly controversial).

A horrid thought is that if Congress is moved to do anything, they will go for "God Bless America" (!!!!!)

9 users have voted.

There is no justice. There can be no peace.

thanatokephaloides's picture


There have even been attempts to replace "The Star Spangled Banner" with something more appropriate -

Or just singable. No one can really hit all the notes of our current one; if you can hit the low notes, the high ones are out of reach and vice-versa.


5 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

Pluto's Republic's picture


...until it can get its shit together and find its moral compass. This is a poor time for people to soothe themselves with the dopamine of patriotic satisfaction. It could not be more inappropriate.

8 users have voted.

@The Voice In the Wilderness

Unless you are accusing them of lying. Which is your right, but you've offered no proof that they are, nor has anyone else. And I'm betting that no one ever will.

So by claiming you know what their intentions are, in contradiction to their stated intentions, without bothering to even claim any evidence of them lying, you are both being dishonest and wasting our time.

At best you can complain that their protest is in the wrong location at the wrong time.
But that isn't what you claimed.
You seem to be claiming that time and location determines purpose. Which is stupid.
That's like saying a protest march that goes down Main Street is protesting Main Street.

As for the National Anthem, the 3rd stansa celebrates the killing of rebellious slaves. So, no, I don't respect it.

11 users have voted.
Citizen Of Earth's picture

What troubles me is that there are 40 million voters conned into his MAGA bullshit (his approval rating). This Trump faux rage about 'disrespecting the troops' is so easy to spot. Yet he has conned that many people. And they can't all be white supremacists. If this grows any further, we're going to be looking at a Hitler's Germany landscape. Heil Führer Trump .

4 users have voted.

Donnie The #ShitHole Douchebag. Fake Friend to the Working Class. Real Asshole.

Centaurea's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

They are protesting the United States of America

What does that mean, to "protest the United States of America"? Serious question, because I'm trying to figure out what you're referring to. Do you believe Kaepernick et al don't want the USA to exist anymore?

You know, they're not simply protesting a generalized "racial injustice". Their activism is focused very specifically on the increased killing of people of color by law enforcement. Militarized law enforcement, I might add, which is something we all need to be concerned about.

It's poking a stick into the eye of those who do respect the National Anthem.

Good grief, "The Star Spangled Banner" is a song. Just a song, written by Francis Scott Key using the melody to an old drinking tune.

If someone wants to show respect for the National Anthem, I'd think the best way might be to do what the words of the song say. Start with the final verse: "O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave."

Do you think the American people are acting brave at present? I don't. I look around at my fellow Americans, most of whom are undoubtedly good people trying to make their way through life. They don't seem brave to me. In fact, the general mood of the US populace right now seems to be one of tremendous fear, which they are acting out in various ways, mostly ineffective and often destructive of the very freedom they claim to be so proud of.

Very easy for someone to stand when the National Anthem is being played at a football game, and with a sentimental tear (because Americans are nothing if not sentimental) think "Oh, I love our country so much!"

Much harder to actually put into practice what the song says, and what the U.S. Constitution says, and to have the courage to support those who are doing so.

11 users have voted.

"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

@The Voice In the Wilderness
As gjohnsit said, you can't tell them what they are protesting against, but let's say they are protesting against the US (whatever that means). So what? It is their right to protest, and those who feel like it's a "stick in [their] eye" are getting the point. It's supposed to make you uncomfortable. That's what a protest does. It makes people uncomfortable.
I don't have to stand for the flag.
I don't have to take off my hat.
I don't have to sing that stupid song.
I don't have to say the pledge.
I don't have to put my hand over my heart.
I don't have to appreciate any military vet or their service that I never asked for.
I don't have to believe there is a "God" that will bless America.

And anyone who gets bent out of shape because I choose not to has missed THE ENTIRE POINT of our country.

10 users have voted.
Deja's picture

Could not have said it better, and logged in to specifically say so/upvote!

5 users have voted.