The NFL Bowed To Trump Because Of Course They Would

    The NFLs new policy which implements a system of fines for teams with players who kneel during the anthem and also gives players the option of staying in the locker room for the three minutes the anthem is played, sent shockwaves throughout the sports community inciting backlash from across social media and sports programming.  

    The opinions varied as to why people didn’t like it, but generally, the majority of folks thought it solved nothing. 

    Natasha Rothwell on Twitter

    The @NFL’s decision is in no uncertain terms racist.

    VanLathan on Twitter

    The NFL is either … 1. Totally tone deaf to the social issues players are kneeling about, and clumsily navigating a changing societal landscape. 2. A racist cartel who’d actually rather silence those voices in the name of commerce. Hint: It’s the second one.

    Michael Moore on Twitter

    Oh NFL! I love you! What better time to curtail free speech than during the National Anthem! USA! USA!! USA!!! Back in the USSA!!

    The ruling, however, received major support from 45 who is personally responsible for shifting the narrative of the protests. What began as a form of bringing awareness to social injustice and police brutality, became a disrespect of the flag and soldiers and servicemen who fight for this country. 

    FOX & friends on Twitter

    You have to stand proudly for the National Anthem. You shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe they shouldn’t be in the country…the NFL owners did the right thing” -President @realDonaldTrump https://t.co/bt36t4EX5u

    The President has his band of blind followers who support his every egregious action, even if it will lead to their own demise in the process. He also has his detractors, but his greatest constituency consists of the people with the most power and control. In this case, its the NFL owners who have finally taken Trumps advice and totally ignored the true intentions ofColin Kaepernicks kneeling and why it has moved so many people of all ethnicities to action. 

     It doesnt sit right with any logical person and you don’t have to be an African-American to understand what is really at stake when 32 white owners agree to suppress the voice of a minority faction attempting to address issues that transcend the importance of a football game. 

    Philadelphia Eagles player Chris Long has been one of the lone caucasian voices in the league championing the NFL to do whats right and scolding the league for its insensitive, heartless and money driven approach to issues that are ripping our country apart.  

    Action News on 6abc on Twitter

    Philadelphia @Eagles defensive end Chris Long reacts to the new NFL national anthem policy, releasing a statement on Twitter: https://t.co/PY2cQeeXdF

     Longs face and voice are important to what is building up to be a standoff between the owners and the players brave enough to be fined for kneeling. What was once a challenge of their ideals has become an attack on their manhood. Trump says players should stand proudly” for the anthem, but in a country where freedom of choice and expression are our founding principles and encouraged as an unalienable right, forcing a person to appear patriotic seems contradictory to the spirit of our beliefs.  

    The Super Bowl went off without a hitch. All sides of the national anthem protest coin chilled and the owners got their big payday, the NFL enjoyed another day of taking over the sports world and the African-American players that had been courageously kneeling throughout last season agreed to stand for the anthem, like good soldiers. 

    Since then, all hell has broken loose. We previously reported on the lingering issue of anthem protests and how nothing concrete had been resolved. How the owners were stirring the pot and still publicly taking hard stances on the issue, choosing to concentrate on their paper rather than the players cries for social justice. The $89 million they gave to Malcolm Jenkins and The Players Coalition was supposed to do the trick, but the owners kept rubbing it in. Threatening to make players stand for the anthem. 

    The fact that the NFL didnt even air the national anthem until the US military started paying for the anthem to be televised and the players to be present and supportive as a recruiting tool to boost enrollment, is further reason to question the motives of the NFL and its leader Roger Goodell who used some very direct and oppressive language when speaking to the rule implementation, saying they want players to respect the flag. 

    POLITICO on Twitter

    We want people to stand,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, countering the kneeling protest started by football player -and now free agent – Colin Kaepernick https://t.co/nbxVZ21m1q

    That kind of approach is just too messy considering the history of this country and poorly timed in light of the latest incident of police brutality involving NBA player Sterling Brown who was teased for being Black during a traffic stop. The NFL wants a resolution so things can go back to the way it used to be when players asked no questions, just banged heads, contracted CTE and followed the motto shut up and tackle ” in silence, while the owners cake off.

    Once Roger Goodell locked down his new $200 million contract, he was indebted to the owners and his diplomatic tone has flipped into an all-out assault on players rights. The NFL can try to apply a financial solution or reasoning to what has become a social and cultural catastrophe, but it doesnt work. The NFL is off its rocker in a lot of ways. It obviously wants beef, because the majority of these 20-something-year old players don’t want to kneel for the anthem. 

    Jim Jefferies Show on Twitter

    The NFL will now impose a fine on players who kneel during the National Anthem but don’t worry, they’re still ignoring their players with traumatic brain injuries. https://t.co/rHX5sTJK8V

    They also dont want to see innocent people shot down in the streets by cops. Black communities continue to suffer under systemic oppression and governmental genocide, but they know they have 3-5 years to get it crackin’ in the NFL and fulfill a dream they have been working their entire lives to achieve. Kneeling and risking being blackballed is a huge chance for these players to take. 

    No matter how strongly the folks sitting at home and behind keyboards feel about the issue, we are asking them to fall on the sword. The owners chose to be provocative and dictatorial in nature. Its an arrogance that has driven them to this place. They need to chill out and reassess the situation. 

    JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.