A look around the nation and what they’re saying about the new NFL national anthem policy approved by team owners Wednesday at league meetings in Atlanta:
“The NFL’s new policy regarding player protests during the national anthem is not a compromise whatsoever. It is a series of half measures dedicated to the attempt of satisfying all frustrated parties while completely ignoring the initial point of the peaceful protests.”
“Sport has long been a forum for protest, from a Black Power salute during an Olympic medal ceremony to a nation deciding to keep its athletes home from the Olympics. Sport will continue to be a forum for protest. That a league would rule against that idea of free speech, even as it has the right to control how it runs its product, creates appalling optics.
The league should be ashamed of itself. It isn’t and won’t be, but it should be.”
“As the players have shown, both through their individual and collective efforts and based on resources teams are committing to their communities and on the political scene, this always was about way more than the anthem. Anyone who perceived it as anything else is missing the point.”
“Football may be our new national pastime, a powerful unifying force, our weekly town hall, as American as those who protest the injustices found throughout America.
But business is business.”
“I hope the message of [Colin] Kaepernick and the players doesn’t get lost. The kneeling wasn’t in protest of the national anthem nor was it because the players were unpatriotic. It was about the violence in this country from policemen and other law officials toward African-Americans and other minorities.”
“It’s funny when you think about [Roger] Goodell and the NFL attempting to be arbitrators of what constitutes respect. The league can’t define something as elementary as a catch, and now it hopes to dictate the terms of something as complicated as respect for the flag.”
“All of this means that the conversation around the anthem, an issue the owners plainly want to go away, isn't likely to ebb any time soon, at least until the individual team policies are known and players make their decisions on how they will proceed. That, of course, will play out against the backdrop of the country's overheated political rhetoric.”