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Torrey Smith: NFL Dropped The Ball With New National Anthem Policy

The NFLs new threatening and controversial anthem policy hasn’t done anything to solve the potential protests that are even more likely now in light of the NFL basically giving the players an ultimatum to stand for the anthem or be fined.

The players feel disrespected, ignored and refuse to be victims of the oppression NFL owners seek to inflict upon them.  

According to ESPN, Carolina Panthers wide receiver Torrey Smith said the NFL “dropped the ball” with its new rule that requires players to either stand during the national anthem or stay in the locker room, and he believes it could lead to more problems and protests.

Smith also said the rule, adopted last week at the NFL owners meeting in Atlanta, makes the initial protest by former San Francisco 49ers teammate Colin Kaepernick in September 2016 seem “in vain.”

Tiffany Blackmon on Twitter

Today, Panthers’ WR Torrey Smith was asked about his initial reaction to the NFL’s new national anthem policy: “When u see reactive policies, and when I say that I mean it’s something that’s done in response to what guys have done in the past, I always think that’s a problem…

Smith was one of the first NFL players to respond on social media to the league’s new rule, suggesting then that the league didn’t address the real issue or the initial intent of Kaepernick’s protest.

Torrey Smith on Twitter

Appropriate respect for flag and anthem” implies that guys were being disrespectful towards it. Which is an opinion. Most people who believe that ignore the responses from the players and more importantly why men chose to protest. https://t.co/j7nyw2Lkai

On Tuesday, Smith had  a lot to say to reporters and he expressed the  frustration and anger that the other African-American players —  that comprise over 70 percent of NFL rosters — are feeling. 

“You’re disappointed but not surprised,” Smith said. “At the end of the day, the league is about money, it’s a business. To try to silence those guys when they’re trying to do the right thing for our country, I don’t know what to say about it.

“It could stir things up, which is a problem. Because you’re stirring things up because you’re being told to be quiet, when it could have been done together to figure out what we can do to move forward and what would be best for the players.”

Smith was a teammate of Kaepernick’s in 2015 and 2016 and then in 2017 he went to the Philadelphia Eagles, a team that was one of the leading franchises in supporting Kaepernick’s protests and being free to express themselves and support the players’ rights to take a knee. 

Smith once used the word legend to describe the brave actions of his former teammate who is still being blackballed by NFL teams for orchestrating the anthem kneeling that sparked a revolution of player consciousness. He fears that the efforts and sacrifices made by Kaepernick and other blackballed players such as Eric Reid, will be forgotten with this new policy. Others agree. 

The Shadow League on Twitter

Michelle Beadle came with a strong perspective about the NFL’s new anthem policy as well as the Sterling Brown video. https://t.co/gt8p65XReF

The common theme among all players seems to be that opposers to peaceful protest are still missing the point and guys who should be lauded for their bravery and commitment to issues beyond football are being painted as unpatriotic villains and the President continues to push that narrative and create drama instead of positive conversation between the two sides. 

According to ESPN, Smith noted that about 70 percent of the players in the NFL are African-American and that football is an ideal place to bring men and women of all races and ethnicities together.

“A lot of people look at athletes like they’re pure activists,” he said. “We’re just trying to do our part, and we aren’t gonna be able to it alone. Just like it’s not the NFL’s sole fight to change the world, but the NFL has an opportunity to have a big influence.”

Smith added that “it’s not an easy fix.”

“It’s going to be a long-term process, and we’re just trying to do our part,” he said. “That’s essentially what the protests started with and we have to continue with. It’s not so much about the protests, it’s about the work going forward.”

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