Diary

This Stupid New NFL Anthem Policy

Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.

Instead of taking the issue completely off the table by requiring NFL players to go back to their locker rooms during the national anthem, the new policy established three areas of contention. In my opinion, it will only exacerbate the problem and only serve to piss off even more patriotic NFL fans. TV ratings will take a hit as well, and the NFL gets over $7 billion a year from its various contracts with the networks.

One of the rules is that a player has the option to stay in the locker room if he doesn’t want to stand for the anthem or show respect for the flag, which seems fair but here’s what’s going to happen: Reporters are going to do head counts during the song, and the ones not appearing will be asked why they didn’t show up, and this will come up on sports (and political) radio and TV talking head shows. Why even go there?

Second, during the anthem, TV cameras will be pointed at players during the anthem, and viewers and officials will have the opportunity to evaluate whether players are standing for the anthem and showing respect for the flag. If a player raises a clenched fist, for example, the cameras will fixate on the guy and it’ll come up again in post-game interviews and again on sports (and political) radio and TV talking head shows. I say again, why even go there?

Third, if or when a player does show disrespect, the NFL could fine the player, and so could the team. However, a team owner could go the other way and pay the league and go no further on discipline. The Jets already said they wouldn’t fine or discipline players, and you can expect the same thing from the 49ers because they abstained from voting for the rule (which otherwise passed unanimously). The media will fixate on this as well, and then general managers and other team officials will have to explain why they made their decisions in subsequent press conferences and interviews. It’ll be another counterproductive distraction.

Seriously, this game is for the fans and most fans are in favor of honoring our country before a sporting event. The players don’t have to be there. For a few short minutes, keep the players off the field and keep their politics out of it. I am ready for some football, not political messaging on Sundays. And Monday nights. And Thursday nights. Maybe even a few Saturdays.