NFL screws up national anthem issue and Twitter reacts
By Lee Vowell
Leave it to the NFL to be slow to react to a certain cultural issue. On Wednesday, the NFL announced it will make a change to what players can do when it comes to the national anthem. According to reaction on Twitter, the league may have made a wrong decision. Again.
Hello, NFL fans. On Wednesday the league announced that players can feel free to protest during the national anthem. Good for the league! But here’s the rub: The NFL said the players that do protest have to do so in the locker room. Teams will now be fined if their players protest during the national anthem.
There is no sense bringing any kind of discord out into public view, is there? Money is to be made and we need to keep the riff raff to the back of the bus! And maybe this isn’t what the NFL is thinking, but the announcement of them keeping protesting players literally out of view of pregame crowds can certainly be read that way.
And if you disagree with me, then go ahead and protest. Go to work tomorrow and say, “Lee Vowell – this guy you’ve never heard of and never will – of 12th Man Rising – a fine establishment except for that Vowell guy! – says blah blah blah.” You should then take a quick knee in protest of me. Do it among all the people you work with.
You know the difference? NFL players cannot do that.
The league could have gone lots of ways with this. One proposal had NFL teams not taking the field before the anthem. This seems outrageous, right? That is until you realize this was the way it was prior to 2010 for every game.
Twitter has also spoken on the issue. This includes players, of course…
NFL is slow to react and that is part of the issue
But the NFL has a habit of giving in to what Roger Goodell must perceive as majority view. Remember when Ray Rice was suspended for two games for hitting his fiancée? We all saw what Rice did and it was awful. But the NFL tried to get Rice for only two games. Then the video came out and Goodell acted as if he had never seen the video and suspended Rice for far longer. This wasn’t Goodell doing the right thing; This was the commissioner of the NFL giving in (and rightfully so with the Rice case) to public opinion.
And don’t get me wrong. I am not comparing the acts themselves. Protesting the national anthem is one thing. Striking a fellow human being is awful always.
But the fact remains Goodell and the NFL acted only when they thought public opinion was against them. In other words, when they thought their wallets would be impacted. The NFL is slow to react and an arrogant league. They care most about their money. And it is a business, so maybe the argument could be made that they have that right.
But the NFL also has a duty to its players, or at least it should. NFL players are not regular employees as much as some want to make that argument. These are the same people a lot of kids, for better or worse, look up to as role models. Therefore, players have a greater sense of their importance. Again, whether right or wrong, what they do is important to many children. And adults.
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And for that reason players should have a right to live their opinions. Just as all of us should.