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NFL adopts new Anthem policy

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http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2018/05/23/nfl-adopts-policy-to-fine-club-if-players-and-personnel-dont-stand-for-national-anthem.html

 

The policy read: "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 requirements for the policy stated:

"All team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem."

"The Game Operations Manual will be revised to remove the requirement that all players be on the field for the Anthem."

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."
 

"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."

"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."

"The Commissioner will impose appropriate discipline on league personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem."

Goodell wrote in the statement that the "efforts by many of our players sparked awareness and action around issues of social justice that must be addressed" but it was unfortunate "on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic." 

"This is not and was never the case," he continued.

The policy comes in wake of the protests that were started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

During the 2016-2017 NFL season, Kaepernick started kneeling during the anthem as part of a protest against police brutality. The hotly contested move was later adapted by other players as well, including former teammate Eric Reid.

After the kneeling triggered fierce debates across the country, and criticism from President Trump, the league moved to pay nearly $100 million to social justice causes supported by some players, despite critics' claims that it was meant purely to appease activist athletes.

NFL players reportedly defended Kaepernick and slammed league owners during an October meeting in New York City, demanding to know why the former 49ers player was, they believed, being blackballed.

NFL owners met this week to consider the new policy. 

The National Football League Players Association [NFLPA] released a statement regarding the policy. 

"The NFL chose to not consult the union in the development of this new 'policy.' NFl players have shown their patriotism through their social activism, their community service, in support of our military and law enforcement and yes, through their protests to raise awareness about the issues they care about," the statement read. 

The NFLPA said the vote by the owners "contradicts the statements made to our player leadership by Commissioner Roger Goodell and the Chairman of the NFL's Management Council John Mara about the principles, values and patriotism of our league."

The NFLPA said they would "review the new 'policy.'"

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They are still able to protest due to them not being forced to be on the field. I think that is a fair compromise and still allows freedom of speech expression. 

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To be honest, the issue of kneeling was dying little by little. While the reason for the kneeling still exists, the kneeling itself showed up with its consequences for Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid as time went on. So, even avid supporters were stopping their kneeling since they made their point initially.

 

So, why dig up more wounds? NFL is going along the lines of Trump's comments to incite this issue all over again, IMO. This only gives more ammunition for the kneelers knowing it is "getting to the heads of the owners", IMO. Somehow, I get the feeling the kneelers are going to continue to do it on the field. 

 

If they are going to give a penalty, they might as well throw in a suspension too while they are at it, right? The penalty is just a slap on the wrist, if they truly wanted to do something about it. I see the intent, I just see botched execution, that is all.

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Here is where we will possibly see the media and their lust for controversy. If they look for...and target their cameras on players coming out of the locker room after the anthem, then this moves from a "I am trying to make a statement" by a player....to "We are trying to get controversial subject matter to get viewership" by the media. 

 

I hope that does not happen and this goes away. 

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13 minutes ago, stitches said:

Dd5aiYqUQAE1P8t.jpg:large

 

This is just the beginning. 

The original intent of playing the National Anthem prior to NFL games around WWII in an effort to build "Patriotism"..  Today, however, the National Anthem has become a very divisive thing within the NFL .... which completely goes against the original intent.

 

With this being said, I think that the National Anthem should no longer be played prior to the games.  Afterall, how many other "entertainment events" follow this tradition in our country?...Concerts, plays, shows, etc??? Does anyone care that it is not played when they go to a concert? Why MUST it be played at a football game?...

 

Don't get me wrong...I am a Veteran and a devoted citizen who stands very strongly in favor of our National Anthem and all it stands for to so many people...including those who choose to exercise their "right to protest peacefully"... BUT, my feelings are such based on the divisive nature of the anthem, especially in the context of the NFL.

 

 

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Just now, Reality Check said:

The original intent of playing the National Anthem prior to NFL games around WWII in an effort to build "Patriotism"..  Today, however, the National Anthem has become a very divisive thing within the NFL .... which completely goes against the original intent.

 

With this being said, I think that the National Anthem should no longer be played prior to the games.  Afterall, how many other "entertainment events" follow this tradition in our country?...Concerts, plays, shows, etc??? Does anyone care that it is not played when they go to a concert? Why MUST it be played at a football game?...

 

Don't get me wrong...I am a Veteran and a devoted citizen who stands very strongly in favor of our National Anthem and all it stands for to so many people...including those who choose to exercise their "right to protest peacefully"... BUT, my feelings are such based on the divisive nature of the anthem, especially in the context of the NFL.

 

 

Um the NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, to name a few. Virtually every major sports event it is played. 

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To clarify my position as has been stated in another thread...

 

I like the kneeling. I'm a big Ali fan, if that helps...

 

Despite that, I believe in an organization's right to restrict some behaviors of individuals while at work... I don't disagree with the NFL's new policy, although I'll be a fan of the first player that violates it. The NFL should have the authority to discipline whoever it is.

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17 minutes ago, chad72 said:

To be honest, the issue of kneeling was dying little by little. While the reason for the kneeling still exists, the kneeling itself showed up with its consequences for Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid as time went on. So, even avid supporters were stopping their kneeling since they made their point initially.

 

So, why dig up more wounds? NFL is going along the lines of Trump's comments to incite this issue all over again, IMO. This only gives more ammunition for the kneelers knowing it is "getting to the heads of the owners", IMO. Somehow, I get the feeling the kneelers are going to continue to do it on the field. 

 

If they are going to give a penalty, they might as well throw in a suspension too while they are at it, right? The penalty is just a slap on the wrist, if they truly wanted to do something about it. I see the intent, I just see botched execution, that is all.

Actually, I think they're trying to appease both sides.  You can still protest by not going to the field for the anthem. But it keeps people from getting upset over the kneeling and should help save their ratings this fall. 

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22 minutes ago, Narcosys said:

Um the NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, to name a few. Virtually every major sports event it is played. 

Only in the US. In my neck of the woods(Europe) people ridicule that obsession with fake displays of patriotism in US sports(the anthem, the parroting of the military, etc.). I've been a fan of multiple sports and I cannot think of a single one in any country other than the US(and Canada?) that plays the national anthem before games of club teams. The only time they play the anthems is before national teams competitions/games/events. 

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8 minutes ago, csmopar said:

Actually, I think they're trying to appease both sides.  You can still protest by not going to the field for the anthem. But it keeps people from getting upset over the kneeling and should help save their ratings this fall. 

 

People will get upset no matter what. There will be plenty of cameras showing who came out for the anthem. That will start another controversy.

 

Having said that, I don't see anything wrong with the new policy. One has the option not to be on the field during the anthem. It seems like a good compromise. I don't see why the NFLPA has a problem with it. Perhaps there is something I am missing. 

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interesting change, but they just gave the media a lot of power to direct where this goes next

 

if they make a big production over the guys that come out of the locker room late then we are in the same position as now.  if they dont, then we may not hear much about it after this 

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29 minutes ago, Narcosys said:

Um the NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, to name a few. Virtually every major sports event it is played. 

My point is/was that I do not think we need the National anthem played at ANY sporting/entertainment events....as they are the only form of "entertainment" where we do the anthem.  I only geared my response towards the NFL due to the fact the new policy is only for the NFL and this forum is an NFL forum.

 

I am sorry for not being clear re. other sports in the US, but that is partially b/c the anthem does not seem to be so controversial with the other sports....

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37 minutes ago, chad72 said:

If they are going to give a penalty, they might as well throw in a suspension too while they are at it, right? The penalty is just a slap on the wrist, if they truly wanted to do something about it. I see the intent, I just see botched execution, that is all.

i agree with this, fining the team is pretty trivial really.  if anything they should fine the player and maybe suspend them for a game.

 

would kapernick have even cared if he got his team a 100k fine?  i kind of doubt it.  the team would just shrug it off too, no big deal 

 

 

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27 minutes ago, stitches said:

Only in the US. In my neck of the woods(Europe) people ridicule that obsession with fake displays of patriotism in US sports(the anthem, the parroting of the military, etc.). I've been a fan of multiple sports and I cannot think of a single one in any country other than the US(and Canada?) that plays the national anthem before games of club teams. The only time they play the anthems is before national teams competitions/games/events. 

 

 

Lol, ok. If UK,  we beat you twice and saved you twice. If not UK, half of that statement still applies. So not sure you'd understand. Regardless, its only perceived as fake by those whose opinion doesn't matter. 

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10 minutes ago, Narcosys said:

 

 

Lol, ok. If UK,  we beat you twice and saved you twice. If not UK, half of that statement still applies. So not sure you'd understand. Regardless, its only perceived as fake by those whose opinion doesn't matter. 

I mean... it's LITERALLY FAKE... it's paid for by your military. Players didn't used to stand for the anthem until 2009, when your military paid millions to the teams to stage ceremonies and displays of patriotism to make the teams look more patriotic and thus influence their fans. 

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3 minutes ago, stitches said:

I mean... it's LITERALLY FAKE... it's paid for by your military. Players didn't used to stand for the anthem until 2009, when your military paid millions to the teams to stage ceremonies and displays of patriotism to make the teams look more patriotic and thus influence its fans. 

 

Agreed 100%. If it were up to me, I'd just remove the anthem from every sporting event that isn't international (Olympics, World Cup, etc). Problem solved. You can't protest something that's not there, and people aren't spending their hard-earned money to have phony patriotism shoved down their throats, they're paying to watch a football game.

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14 minutes ago, stitches said:

I mean... it's LITERALLY FAKE... it's paid for by your military. Players didn't used to stand for the anthem until 2009, when your military paid millions to the teams to stage ceremonies and displays of patriotism. 

That was part of the marketing contracts, but not for the anthem itself. They took over paying for the PEOPLE performing the anthem from the NFL. The DoD wasnt paying for it back during WWII, so what about the other 70 years?

 

Players have always had the option of standing for the anthem.

 

Fact check yourself there buddy. 

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I just heard Jed York (owner of the 49'ers) say on NFL Live that his team plans on shutting down concession sales during the anthem. He said there is more to the issue than just the players or team personnel standing or kneeling during the anthem. He basically said that if the teams are expecting the players to stand that they shouldn't be making money during the anthem as well.

 

Personally, if I were a team owner, I would have my whole team just stay in the locker room during the anthem. That way there is no discussion about who is on the field and who isn't. I'm all for the players being able to speak on the issues of social justice, but I think the time for that is not during the national anthem. Just my :2c:.

 

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6 minutes ago, Steamboat_Shaun said:

 

Agreed 100%. If it were up to me, I'd just remove the anthem from every sporting event that isn't international (Olympics, World Cup, etc). Problem solved. You can't protest something that's not there, and people aren't spending their hard-earned money to have phony patriotism shoved down their throats, they're paying to watch a football game.

You speak for 70% of the country, or just yourself?

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29 minutes ago, aaron11 said:

i agree with this, fining the team is pretty trivial really.  if anything they should fine the player and maybe suspend them for a game.

 

would kapernick have even cared if he got his team a 100k fine?  i kind of doubt it.  the team would just shrug it off too, no big deal 

 

 

 

Team will likely fine him the same number.

From what I'm reading this policy seems pretty open ended.  Let's Goodell decide the punishment.  

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4 minutes ago, Narcosys said:

You speak for 70% of the country, or just yourself?

 

This is how it started with removing prayer from school too. Then, they celebrate Spock who says "Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." I can never understand this country, they know what most want but the few that do not want what the majority wants make the most noise :) 

 

For the record, I agree with Spock, not just in principle, but also in reality. Fair representation does not mean bending over backwards to me.

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4 minutes ago, Mel Kiper's Hair said:

I just heard Jed York (owner of the 49'ers) say on NFL Live that his team plans on shutting down concession sales during the anthem. He said there is more to the issue than just the players or team personnel standing or kneeling during the anthem. He basically said that if the teams are expecting the players to stand that they shouldn't be making money during the anthem as well.

 

Personally, if I were a team owner, I would have my whole team just stay in the locker room during the anthem. That way there is no discussion about who is on the field and who isn't. I'm all for the players being able to speak on the issues of social justice, but I think the time for that is not during the national anthem. Just my :2c:.

 

They might as well stop parroting the US flag too:

http://www.usflag.org/uscode36.html#176

Quote

(c) The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.

 

?m=02&d=20180205&t=2&i=1228244632&r=LYNX

 

Or remove it the flag from the helmets:

Quote

 

(d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker's desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.

(j) No part of the flag should ever be used as a costume or athletic uniform. However, a flag patch may be affixed to the uniform of military personnel, firemen, policemen, and members of patriotic organizations. The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, the lapel flag pin being a replica, should be worn on the left lapel near the heart.

 

104556558.jpg

 

Cuz you know... respect for the anthem and the flag and all that... 

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11 minutes ago, Narcosys said:

That was part of the marketing contracts, but not got the anthem itself. They took over paying for the PEOPLE performing the anthem from the NFL. The DoD wasnt paying for it back during WWII, so what about the other 70 years?

 

Players have always had the option of standing for the anthem.

 

Fact check yourself there buddy. 

https://www.mccain.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/12de6dcb-d8d8-4a58-8795-562297f948c1/tackling-paid-patriotism-oversight-report.pdf

 

Quote

Unfortunately, contrary to the public statements made by DOD and the NFL, the majority of the contracts — 72 of the 122 contracts we analyzed — clearly show that DOD paid for patriotic tributes at professional football, baseball, basketball, hockey, and soccer games. These paid tributes included on-field color guard, enlistment and reenlistment ceremonies, performances of the national anthem, full-field flag details, ceremonial first pitches͕ and puck drops. The National Guard paid teams for the “opportunity” to sponsor military appreciation nights and to recognize its birthday. It paid the Buffalo Bills to sponsor its Salute to the Service game. DOD even paid teams for the “opportunity” to perform surprise welcome home promotions for troops returning from deployments and to recognize wounded warriors. While well intentioned, we wonder just how many of these displays included a disclaimer that these events were in fact sponsored by the DOD at taxpayer expense. Even with that disclosure, it is hard to understand how a team accepting taxpayer funds to sponsor a military appreciation game, or to recognize wounded warriors or returning troops, can be construed as anything other than paid patriotism.

 

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Football season can't get here soon enough! I'm ready to talk about the game of football and not all the periphery issues. I'm not against discussion and debate on political issues, but I come here for the football and the escape that it is for me from the other things going on in the world. Football is my distraction. 

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1 minute ago, Mel Kiper's Hair said:

Football season can't get here soon enough! I'm ready to talk about the game of football and not all the periphery issues. I'm not against discussion and debate on political issues, but I come here for the football and the escape that it is for me from the other things going on in the world. Football is my distraction. 

 

Yep. Let us not make our escape a scourge.

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2 minutes ago, stitches said:

They might as well stop parroting the US flag too:

http://www.usflag.org/uscode36.html#176

 

?m=02&d=20180205&t=2&i=1228244632&r=LYNX

 

Or remove it the flag from the helmet:

104556558.jpg

 

Cuz you know... respect for the anthem and the flag and all that... 

 

First and foremost that code is not enforceable. So long as the code is mostly followed and those "violations" are not intended to disrespect, then it is ok.

 

The second picture isn't considered a flag, and yes technicalities matter. They are talking about an actual flag. 

 

That is why you can buy flag looking clothing and other articles like plates because it isn't a flag and are usually not even the correct design (proper amount of stripes and stars). 

 

But here I am debating this with someone who isn't American because you know...Europeans are smarter and better and all that...

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12 minutes ago, Mel Kiper's Hair said:

Football season can't get here soon enough! I'm ready to talk about the game of football and not all the periphery issues. I'm not against discussion and debate on political issues, but I come here for the football and the escape that it is for me from the other things going on in the world. Football is my distraction. 

 

10 minutes ago, chad72 said:

 

Yep. Let us not make our escape a scourge.

I mean... it's not like it's easy to avoid topics about the issues on the periphery.... like you know... not clicking on the topic named "Periphery issue X" ... and since I am with you in general I will take my own advice and take myself out of this thread. 

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I've generally stayed out of the kneeling threads because the issue is just so stupid, but these are my thoughts:

 

This whole thing started the Sunday morning Kaepernick was told he was no longer the starter.  He throws a temper tantrum by kneeling for the Anthem in defiance of his coach.  After the game and he's calmed down a bit, some reporter sticks a mic in his face about why he knelt, and he fabricates some canned issue that generally gets unwavering popular support, some sort of persistent inequality in our country.   He didn't say it was about police or a racist slave owner song writer writing the anthem.  It was the generic feeling of inequality.  An easy way to get support.

 

(Edit:  You know, if I was a QB "of color" and got benched in favor of Blaine Gabbert, I'd probably come up with all sorts of wild excuses about how racist the country is just so I wouldn't have to admit to myself I was worse than Blaine Gabbert)

 

Because the concept of perpetual inequality is constantly reinforced in various venues,  groups of people who are triggered into giving unconditional support for that concept come to the defense of Kaep even though he did something really stupid to raise the issue.  

 

Realizing that protesting the anthem has nothing to do with inequality, the defenders, who have now embarrassed themselves by defending the nonsense reason for Kaep's protest, have to come up with another reason for the protest that tries to make sense of it.  They fabricate the lame excuse that a verse originally written by slave owner Key alluded to ownership of people, and that the verse (that isn't part of the song) means the rest of the song that became the national anthem is a racist song. (Avoiding the obvious,  that politicians TOOK OUT that verse of the song in order to make it acceptable for the rest of the song to be the national anthem)  

 

Having taken yet another step down the rabbit hole of stupidity, these people finally grab some issue of the day worth protesting, police brutality, and then say that was/is the reason for the kneeling in the first place. 

 

Instead of just letting these people totally embarrass themselves with going down these rabbit holes of made up reasons for defending Kaep's original temper tantrum protest for being benched, politicians and the commissioner get involved, making the whole stupid temper tantrum  by Kaep some sort of national issue.

 

Having said that.  This policy does nothing.  Players are still protesting the anthem by staying in the locker room.  There is no difference between kneeling and staying back.  Its an irrelevant policy that we are supposed to think means something.  

 

So anybody who is offended by ignorant players protesting the NATIONAL anthem over police brutality committed by local municipalities' police forces (no such thing as a national police force, so maybe a Raven should protest the city of Baltimore instead?), or because the writer was a slave owner and the song was edited before it became the anthem, or because of general inequality, or simply because Kaep sucks and got benched, this policy shouldn't really appease anybody. 

 

They're still protesting by being absent.

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39 minutes ago, stitches said:

 

I mean... it's not like it's easy to avoid topics about the issues on the periphery.... like you know... not clicking on the topic named "Periphery issue X" ... and since I am with you in general I will take my own advice and take myself out of this thread. 

 

BYE_FELICIA.jpg

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4 minutes ago, Narcosys said:

 

First and foremost that code is not enforceable. So long as the code is mostly followed and those "violations" are not intended to disrespect, then it is ok.

 

The second picture isn't considered a flag, and yes technicalities matter. They are talking about an actual flag. 

 

That is why you can buy flag looking clothing and other articles like plates because it isn't a flag and are usually not even the correct design (proper amount of stripes and stars). 

 

But here I am debating this with someone who isn't American because you know...Europeans are smarter and better and all that...

None of those are enforceable. Even when it's meant to disrespect. That's why you can even burn a flag and not face any legal repercussion. Intentions are irrelevant. Those are just niceties about how you should treat your flag. Hypocrisy duly noted though... if it was about intent, all those players kneeling who explicitly say they are not doing it to disrespect the anthem or the flag, but for another purpose(to draw attention to issues they are passionate about), should be all good, right? 

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4 minutes ago, stitches said:

None of those are enforceable. Even when it's meant to disrespect. That's why you can even burn a flag and not face any legal repercussion. Intentions are irrelevant. Those are just niceties about how you should treat your flag. Hypocrisy duly noted though... if it was about intent, all those players kneeling who explicitly say they are not doing it to disrespect the anthem or the flag, but for another purpose(to draw attention to issues they are passionate about), should be all good, right? 

Yes, because it's protected under the first amendment. There's no hypocrisy. I was pointing towards your examples. But is that the only way to bring attention? No. I would argue that their efforts actually drew attention away because the discussion moved from their purpose to their actions. Their intended message ended up getting lost. I say that any professionals shouldn't use their profession as a platform for any message. They used something that is, regardless of what you think, dear to most Americans as a means of furthering their Ian personal agenda. Usually not the best way to go about bringing affection to something as, like I said, nobody will listen and the message will fall to the wayside. 

 

Good try though.

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2 hours ago, Narcosys said:

They are still able to protest due to them not being forced to be on the field. I think that is a fair compromise and still allows freedom of speech expression. 

 

I think the characterization of this being a compromise is not accurate at all in a couple of different areas.  First it seems to have been forced upon the players.  Plus is it free speech if they are only allowed to do it where no one else can see, i.e the locker room? 

 

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2 hours ago, NFLfan said:

 

People will get upset no matter what. There will be plenty of cameras showing who came out for the anthem. That will start another controversy.

 

Having said that, I don't see anything wrong with the new policy. One has the option not to be on the field during the anthem. It seems like a good compromise. I don't see why the NFLPA has a problem with it. Perhaps there is something I am missing. 

Only thing I can think of is that the policy does state that if one chooses to be in the field and kneels, there's a 15 yard penalty but repeat offenders and teams will be fined. 

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8 minutes ago, jskinnz said:

 

I think the characterization of this being a compromise is not accurate at all in a couple of different areas.  First it seems to have been forced upon the players.  Plus is it free speech if they are only allowed to do it where no one else can see, i.e the locker room? 

 

It's not just players, it's league personelle as well as team owners, staff and all employees if they are on the field. 

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7 minutes ago, Narcosys said:

Yes, because it's protected under the first amendment. There's no hypocrisy. I was pointing towards your examples. But is that the only way to bring attention? No. I would argue that their efforts actually drew attention away because the discussion moved from their purpose to their actions. Their intended message ended up getting lost. I say that any professionals shouldn't use their profession as a platform for any message. They used something that is, regardless of what you think, dear to most Americans as a means of furthering their Ian personal agenda. Usually not the best way to go about bringing affection to something as, like I said, nobody will listen and the message will fall to the wayside. 

 

Good try though.

Of course there is hypocrisy - you are OK with NFL and NFL teams draping the flag horizontally before EVERY SINGLE GAME even though it's explicitly against the 'respect of the flag' code because their intention is not to disrespect, but you don't extend the same courtesy to the players, who do something that's advised against in the very same document, but they explicitly say they mean no disrespect . This is the embodiment and definition of hypocrisy 

 

You might very well be right about the prudence of their strategy, but this is not really what we are talking about. Also, it's worth pointing out that this is NOT the only way they are drawing attention and addressing the issues they seem to care about. I wonder if you knew that and purposely ignored it or if you didn't even know about it? 

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1 hour ago, stitches said:

I mean... it's LITERALLY FAKE... it's paid for by your military. Players didn't used to stand for the anthem until 2009, when your military paid millions to the teams to stage ceremonies and displays of patriotism to make the teams look more patriotic and thus influence their fans. 

That's 100 percent FALSE. At least the player part.   I worked for the Colts security contractor from 2005-2007. I personally stood next to the teams during warmups on the field and during the Anthem many times. 

 

I have a feeling this thread is gonna get locked very soon

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4 minutes ago, csmopar said:

That's 100 percent FALSE. At least the player part.   I worked for the Colts security contractor from 2005-2007. I personally stood next to the teams during warmups on the field and during the Anthem many times. 

 

I have a feeling this thread is gonna get locked very soon

I stand corrected on the players part, then. Still the part about the DoD paying for anthems and staging of military displays of patriotism is well documented. 

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the first amendment and the right to free speech are irrelevant to the NFL's anthem policy.  The first amendment protects us from Congress passing laws that would prohibit our right to free speech.  This policy is about a private company's rules for conduct of their players.  

 

Now if Congress were trying to pass a law forcing players to stand during the anthem, then the first amendment would come into play.

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