NFL Owners Rule Players Can Continue #TakeAKnee Protests, But With One Major Catch
Out of sight; out of mind. Uh... Okay.
The #TakeAKnee protest saga has been quite the rollercoaster ride, going from outright contentious to settling into a moment of compromise before going back to being contentious again. However, as of Wednesday, May 23, it seems the NFL has put its foot down on the matter once and for all.
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According to an official statement released by the professional football league from Commissioner Roger Goodell, the league will now mandate players must stand for the national anthem while on the field. Players who wish to participate in the protests must do so in the locker room.
Basically, the players can protest all they want, as long as they stay out of sight. Oh.
"It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic," the statement reads. "This is not and was never the case."
"This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem. Personnel who choose not to stand for the anthem may stay in the locker room until after the anthem has been performed," the statement continued. "We believe today's decision will keep our focus on the game and the extraordinary athletes who play it — and on our fans who enjoy it."
Statement from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell pic.twitter.com/1Vn7orTo1R— NFL (@NFL) May 23, 2018
The new rules remove the requirement that all players must be present on the field for the national anthem. The new rules also states that any member of a team's personnel that decides not to stand for the national anthem while on the field will be fined.
Each team will be allowed to develop its own work rules consistent with the new policy. However, the NFL's commissioner will be able to implement disciplinary action against players who do not "show respect" for the national anthem while on the field.
“As always, conversations at league meetings are candid, thoughtful and thorough,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the Huffington Post. “The clubs explore every option and idea on any policy, and discuss the merits and drawbacks of each approach. We will continue the conversation this morning.”
As the news hit social media, many worried this new mandate was a not-so-subtle attempt to silence the players' right to peaceful protest:
I wish there was a dislike button on here— TheMLGApache (@TheMLGApache) May 23, 2018
Is it just me who thinks the NFL are completely misinterpreting the point of these protests? The point isn't these players don't wanna respect the anthem, it's that they want to raise awareness for a massive issue. Can't do that by not being present!— ''it was agony towards the end'' (@dvtavfc) May 23, 2018
NFL owners be like pic.twitter.com/xFkr5cP5rn— Donald Simmons Jr. (@TheSimmS27) May 23, 2018
Land of the not so free eh?— ℙ𝕒𝕟𝕥𝕙𝕖𝕣𝕤 𝕊B 𝟝𝟛 ℂ𝕙𝕒𝕞𝕡𝕤 (@caymiendavis) May 23, 2018
"Either believe this and do exactly as we say or go hide your message in the locker room where it doesn't trigger us"— 🅘🅩🅩🅨 🅱️🅐🅡🅝🅔🅢 (@izzybboi) May 23, 2018
I’m very curious to see how many NFL players will be on the field for the anthem that first NFL weekend.— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) May 23, 2018