Today the NFL voted to implement a new policy concerning player conduct during the national anthem:
NFL owners reached a consensus Wednesday on a policy regarding the national anthem and players’ conduct during its playing before games.
Under the new policy, players who do not choose to stand for the playing of the anthem before games will have the option of staying in the locker room. But a club will be fined if players or league personnel are on the field and do not stand “and show respect for the flag and the anthem” during its playing.
All owners voted for this policy, except 49ers owner Jed York, who abstained.
It remains to be seen if there is anything here that violates the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The (only recently enacted) policy of forcing players to be on the field for the anthem was of course silly in the first place, and it is good that they don’t have to be anymore. But denying players the right to express themselves if they did choose to be on the field is completely unacceptable. Standing at attention with your hand on your heart while the anthem plays is no less a political statement than is kneeling with your head down while the anthem plays. This isn’t about keeping politics out of the anthem. It’s about keeping black politics away from white fans’ safe spaces.
Meanwhile, the NFL has effectively colluded to keep two quality players — Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid — unemployed as retribution for kneeling during the anthem in previous seasons. What an absolute sham.