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NFL, NFLPA Put The Chill On League’s New Anthem Policy

After all of the turmoil that plaguing the 2017-18 season — player protests, anthem kneeling, the continued blackballing of Colin Kaepernick and friends, Trumps attack on the NFL and its Black players and racist team owners and fans showing out —  there wasnt a player who kneeled for the anthem during the Super Bowl.  

After months of back and forth and an eventual agreement between the league and Players Coalition, the “problem” of players kneeling during the anthem (which took on a twisted and convoluted life of its own during the season) seemed to be solved. 

The Super Bowl went off without a hitch and the players appeared prepared to try and carry on the social activism that Kaepernick started in another manner. 

But then, the owners got belligerent. One by one, they started making demands and threats in preparation of this season. Instead of keeping things cool, owners have regained their mojo, succumbed to the pressures of Donald Trump and a racist, rich few and are ready to start punishing players who dont succumb to their demands. 

The 2017-18 season was barely a month over when NFL owners got back on that bull crap. First reports surface that the Houston Texans wouldnt  sign any players who took a knee for the anthem last season. That was a serious and unsettling accusation that Houston has since denied. Texans owner Bob McNair, whose infamous “inmates running the prison” reference in describing NFL protests got him in hot water last season, still can’t seem to hide his racist inner core. 

The Shadow League on Twitter

Here is the Texans’ statement by Bob McNair after the reports of him saying “We can’t have the inmates running the prison” about NFL players

Then Miami Owner Stephen Ross opened his mouth and inflamed the situation by challenging the manhood of his Dolphins players. 

“All of our players will be standing,” Ross told the Daily News back in March at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, where he was ironically honored by the Jackie Robinson Foundation with its ROBIE Lifetime Achievement Award. Ross, said that at first he supported NFL players taking a knee because Kaepernick was protesting against racial injustice. 

According to a March Daily News report, “Ross said his feelings changed when he felt the message being sent by players kneeling was a protest against ‘support of our country or the military.

“When that message changed, and everybody was interpreting it as that was the reason, then I was against kneeling,” said Ross. “I like Donald (Trump). I don’t support everything that he says. Overall, I think he was trying to make a point, and his message became what kneeling was all about. From that standpoint, that is the way the public is interpreting it. So I think that’s really incumbent upon us to adopt that. That’s how, I think, the country now is interpreting the kneeling issue.”

The Shadow League on Twitter

Malcolm Jenkins didn’t want to answer questions about Trump or the National Anthem. He held these signs up instead. (: @MikeGarafolo)

Ross threats werent enough. 

AP reported this week that the Dolphins organization was enacting a“Proper Anthem Conduct” policy where any player engaging in protests during the national anthem could be fined and suspended up to four games.

That follows the NFLs gutless new anthem policy that was announced in May which will “subject teams to a fine if a player or any other team personnel do not show appropriate respect for the anthem.” If they choose to not participate, they’ll be allowed to remain in the locker room until the performance is done.

With the season headed down a very destructive path, the NFL’s two-month old national anthem policy is on hold. The league and the players union said in a joint statement late Thursday night that the two sides are talking things out.

Ross’ stronghand and misplaced wielding of power has the league calling a timeout. 

The NFL and NFLPA, through recent discussions, have been working on a resolution to the anthem issue. In order to allow this constructive dialogue to continue, we have come to a standstill agreement on the NFLPA’s grievance and on the NFL’s anthem policy. No new rules relating to the anthem will be issued or enforced for the next several weeks while these confidential discussions are ongoing,” the statement read. “The NFL and NFLPA reflect the great values of America, which are repeatedly demonstrated by the many players doing extraordinary work in communities across our country to promote equality, fairness and justice. Our shared focus will remain on finding a solution to the anthem issue through mutual, good faith commitments, outside of litigation.”

I swear, these owners have to be stuck on stupid. Why any owner would try implement such a provocative policy, right before the season begins, is beyond me. If the intention is to get through the NFL season quietly, with no protests and no distractions from the brutal and lucrative NFL action, then Ross has already failed miserably. 

The NFLPA has already expressed how it feels about owners trying to suppress their rights to bring attention to police brutality, oppression and racism in America. 

NFLPA on Twitter

Statement on Players’ Right to Demonstrate

Threatening to fine players who protest these societal injustices is a bad move. Sure, some folks might agree with Ross new policy in hopes of erasing the realities of why players are protesting and get back to seeing guys smash heads for a pretty penny without politics impeding everyones  entertainment fix, but the predominantly Black NFL isnt trying to hear all of that. All Ross did was make the situation worse and force grown men to react because thats what humans do when their integrity and dignity is at stake.  

That’s why the NFL is playing damage control and re-evaluating that stupid anthem policy. This isn’t a situation that can be handled with aggression and threats. It’s delicate, but the owners are trying to force the players to abandon their principles. When you challenge a players right to protest you are essentially being oppressive and controlling,  which is problematic, especially in these times. 

William J. Conaway on Twitter

NFL, NFLPA freeze anthem rules amid backlash to Miami policy https://t.co/UHhF4bbes5

The owners are making this bigger than football. All they had to do was chill. It seems to me like the players were falling back on the anthem kneeling and looking for other ways to bring attention to the ills that Kaepernick based his platform on. Instead, Miami  just poured an entire can of kerosene on the fire and forced the hand of the NFLPA to once again have to respond, ensuring that the NFL season will again be married with conflict, dissention and social media wars. 

For a league that has been so criticized over the past few years and ravaged by domestic violence accusations,CTE discoveries and conflicts with its players and the President, its owners are making some strange, self-destructive moves as we approach the new NFL campaign. The NFL is back to square one on this issue, but don’t let any of this distract you from the fact that Colin Kaepernick is still unemployed. 

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