Without including a single player or union rep, the NFL has finally decided on a formal policy in regards to player protests during the National Anthem. NFL owners have decreed that players must stand during the anthem to show “respect;” however, there is an option for players to remain in the locker room.
Also, each team will be able to decide if there should be any discipline for a player protesting on the field during the anthem. Finally, the NFL will be able to fine a team (not a player) if any of the team’s said players protest on the sideline.
So, if a player decides to protest he can do so in the locker room where no one is watching. But if the player decides to come onto the field during the anthem and protests - the NFL fines the team and the team decides if there is any punishment for the player.
I have mixed feelings about the policy. On one hand, the NFL is a company and the players are employees within. And, in a regular business setting the company has the right to determine specific policies that employees must adhere to - dress code, workplace conduct, tardiness policies, etc, etc. Let’s face it, if your boss tells you that you have to wear a tie - and you decide to never wear ties - don’t be surprised when you’re fired. Because, a company should have some rights in deciding how their employees represent the company.
On the other hand, the NFL protesters are, by and large - black folks. And NFL owners are, by and large - white dudes. Which means we now have yet another policy where white dudes tell black folks what is appropriate for them to do and not to do. Which, is kind of tiresome. (Also, racist and gross.) And I'm not even getting into the inherent idea that, a person in a truly free society doesn't need to "respect the flag." Someone with the right of free speech is allowed, legally, to not stand and be forced to "respect the flag." It is literally their constitutional right to chose to stand or not, or to sing the anthem or not, and / or to show "respect" for the flag / anthem - or not. I am using a common sense attachment to the word "respect" but, yes, we could also quibble about "what does respect mean, anyway?"
On the other hand, again, as employees of the NFL, the company might be within their rights to say, "As employees of our company - you must stand and sing the national anthem." On the other hand it's not like the NFL has any competition. So, let's say a player says, "Well, free speech is in the constitution and therefor legal, and if your company policy takes away that right from me - then I quit and I'll take my talents elsewhere!" It's not like they can work at some other professional American football league. Their options are kind of limited.
I've already seen the Facebook rage begin. Even on my feed I have friends railing against the ruling and calling for an NFL boycott. I mean, first there was the ludicrous idea that the NFL was going to impose a 15 yard penalty on any team kneeling for the anthem. Which produced some online rage. Thankfully, it looks like that idea was shot down. But still - the very idea of it is insulting to reasonable thought. And now the idea that players can be fined - for exercising their constitutional rights - is burning some folk's britches. And I totally understand.
On the other hand - players are employees of a company who should have some say in how their employees represent them. Maybe. Right? Or is the policy too far? I honestly don't know. Some folks on Facebook clearly think they have the answer. Maybe they're right!
Or maybe they're overreacting.
Anyway, I hate to be wishy washy on the policy but I have mixed feelings about it. To be clear - I don't have mixed feelings about the obvious racial component. The new NFL policy is absolutely designed to make white Americans feel more comfortable watching the NFL. I mean, let's face it - if there is one thing that scares the F out of many white people, it's black folks exercising their constitutional rights and pushing for social change.
I mean, peacefully protesting by kneeling quietly during the national anthem seems pretty benign, right? This probably shouldn't even be a national issue. But it is. Such is the 'Murica we currently find ourselves in.
To be honest, I prefer the NFL's previous policy of - players are free to exercise their free speech. Or not. It's up to them. And I hate the racial component of this policy but I keep getting stuck on - but the NFL is a company and the company should be allowed some say in how their employees represent - the company. But the rage is building and I honestly don't expect the NFL to keep this policy.
I guess we'll see what happens now.
The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) had this to say about the new policy:
The NFL’s full policy statement:
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 unique platform that we have created is unprecedented in its scope, and will provide extraordinary resources in support of programs to promote positive social change in our communities.
The membership also strongly believes that:
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.
I heard you were planning a peaceful rally to “Unite the Right” in Charlottesville, Va. in response to the planned removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. I take it you guys are never going to get over that loss in the Civil War since it’s been 152 years, and you’re still waving Confederate flags like you want a rematch. Judging by your militia-like presence and how many people your kind killed (3) and injured (34) in the Battle for Charlottesville, it seems you’re ready to secede all over again.
Quick question: Do most Americans bring guns to peaceful protests or is that something specific to Neo-Nazis? Oh, a podcast not associated with the organization recommended people bring what they need for their self defense. Scared white people are so quick to pick up a gun, including cops. Oh I can understand the dangers involved with preaching white supremacy. Maybe rethink your position and you won’t have to worry so much. I’m telling you, I think it would be good for you.
Anyways, do you prefer Neo-Nazis or white supremacists? Neither is appealing, but neither are your beliefs. Oh, you prefer white nationalists? Sure, because it reveals the least about you and your kind. Nice attempt at rebranding, but I’m going to stick with Neo-Nazis. Calling you white nationalists is a disservice to nationalists who happen to be white.
Why are you so angry, Neo-Nazis? What is it about your Whiteneck (again, calling you Redneck would be a disservice to fine Rednecks all over America), white-collar life that’s so difficult it warrants protest? Is it the 30-minute commute through immigrant traffic from your gentrified community in the suburbs to the office everyday? Is it the eight-hours per day you spend alone in your cubicle with your thoughts? I guess I can understand how that could be a pretty dark experience. Speaking of dark, are you angry because you can’t get a quick lunch anywhere without it being prepared by brown hands? That’s it, isn’t it?
Oh, you were protesting immigration policy? Well at least you have an issue other than world domination. I suppose you’re pissed about American jobs going to immigrants, right? I can understand that, but the unemployment rate of white people at least 16 years of age is just 3.7 percent. The black unemployment rate is almost twice that. What’s that you said? One white American without a job is one too many?
I think I know where you’re going with this. You want to ship out all the undocumented immigrants holding jobs and replace them with documented, white Americans. I trust there are enough able-bodied, white people to fill the roughly 8 million jobs that will be vacated in the service, construction, sales, finance, transportation and agriculture industries? Well, if there are 211,460,626 white Americans of all ages, 3.7 percent of that leaves us over 175,000 jobs left to fill, and probably a lot more unless we’re ready to depend on child labor. I don’t suppose you’d be willing to give any of these jobs to brown people. Of course -- depends on the job. We wouldn’t want your white hands getting too dirty.
You guys didn’t hesitate to get your collective hands dirty in Charlottesville. Oh, don’t play dumb with me! You all went out looking for a fight. That’s your M.O. -- to instigate violence and make the opposition look as intolerant as you. It had all the makings of a Ku Klux Klan lynching. Torches were lit, guns were locked and loaded -- the only thing missing were the hoods. Yeah, you’re probably right. Hoods would have been in bad taste. But attacking a crowd of protesters with a vehicle, killing a civilian and injuring 15 others wasn’t in bad taste. What’s that? The terrorist wasn’t a member of your organization? Well he was clearly on your side. I notice you didn’t bother to say Vanguard America regrets the actions of the lone terrorist in your statement. I guess there’s no reason for damage control when the only press you get is bad press. No such thing you say? Well, there’s bad press and worse press. Your white supremacy rally was responsible for the death of a white woman. It couldn’t have gone much worse.
Oh, you think your message was heard loud and clear, huh? Yeah, I guess that message of hate was delivered pretty clearly. You know, if you have a problem with brown people, there are places in this very country with very small minority populations. You’d probably like Idaho. Why should you have to move? Because you’re the one with the problem. The brown people don’t have a problem with you. Well, they didn’t have a problem with you. Again, something, anything covering your face would have been intelligent. You’re scared for your life? Ha. You sound like those cops who murder unarmed civilians. I don’t feel sorry for you, and I doubt any of your kind will get much sympathy from anyone who isn’t a white supremacist.
Oh, I won’t be surprised by an uprising in support of your cause. America is chalk full of hateful white people. I’d love for someone to explain the reason for the hate, though. What is it about brown people that you dislike so much? Everything, huh. I suppose you think brown kids are taking white kids’ spots in colleges because of affirmative action. You know that was meant to level the playing field, right? Why did it need leveling? Um, slavery. I understand that you never kept slaves, but your kind did, and as a result, black people were and still are at a societal disadvantage. So you do your best to level the playing field.
When do we stop carrying them? Well, how long did they carry your ancestors? 245 years of free labor that resulted in close to 100-percent of your ancestors’ economy over that time, which means we still have 93 years before we match the time their ancestors were forced to work without pay, and we’ll likely never make up for the wages withheld. The nearly four million slaves in the South were worth $3.5 billion in 1860. That’s more than Oprah Winfrey’s net worth. You don’t make up for 245 years of slavery by increasing diversity at colleges where black people are again put at a disadvantage due to tuition costs. You think they leave college with the same debt as white students? You know, black men make 73 cents on a white man’s dollar, and the racial wage gap hasn’t changed in 35 years, right? That’s just music to your ears, isn’t it?
When you hear about the Apalachee Massacre of 1,000 Indians and the enslavement of 2,000 more in 1704, are you thinking, “Now that’s progress?” You are? How? Because white men took what was rightfully theirs, huh. So if inhabited land belongs to white men, what isn’t rightfully theirs? Nothing? How in the world do your kind end up so entitled? How does one become a Neo-Nazi? I mean, was it passed down from your parents like all other dogmatic doctrines or did you just stumble into it drunkenly? Little of both? Interesting. So Neo-Nazis are very welcoming of their own kind and made you feel at home. Was their an initiation process? Yes? Can you describe it? No? Oh, you don’t want your organization to be confused with a gang. Pretty sure that won’t be a problem. Gangs have principles.
My biggest problem with your kind is your parading as if you’re a proud American when you are entirely un-American. I realize your kind exercised its First Amendment right to assemble but failed to do so peaceably, and that’s not even my problem. You choose to blanket yourself in the Constitution of the United States but ignore this country’s Declaration of Independence. You don’t get to pick and choose which document works best for you. You can’t actively work to deprive Americans of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness because you don’t think they’re your equal. THEY ARE YOUR EQUAL IN THIS COUNTRY. If you don’t like it, you can get the hell out, because that’s never going to change. Frankly, you and your kind should be the first ones deported. Even illegal immigrants recognize and respect that all Americans are created equal, which already makes them more American than you.
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