Roger Goodell already told the owners that the players needed to stop protesting the National Anthem on company time, but now the NFL is ready to make it official policy.
In a conference call on Tuesday, chief NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said owners will allow the players to give their input, but would not need union approval to implement a change forcing players to stop protesting.
‘I don’t believe that the anthem, per se, is something that needs to be collectively bargained,’ Lockhart said.
According to the Daily Mail, The NFL players’ union did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
As it currently reads, the policy says players ‘should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their hand, and refrain from talking’ during the anthem.
However, it stops short of saying players ‘must’ stand.
Beyond the possibility of any overt rule changes, the NFL may have quietly altered the wording of its current policy to give teams the incentive and power to punish protesting players who sit or kneel during the ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’
On Monday Night Football, ESPN reporter Chris Mortensen referenced the rule as it is currently written in the NFL’s game operations manual. Most significantly, the policy now states: ‘[Players’] failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.’
According to Deadspin, which previously obtained a 2014 copy of the NFL’s Policy Manual for Member Clubs, that language is new. The policy previously read that failure to be on the field by the start of the national anthem may ‘result in disciplinary action from the League office.’
An NFL spokesman did not return requests for comment on the apparent policy change.
The new NFL rule is as follows:
— Kevin Seifert (@SeifertESPN) October 9, 2017
The owners are scheduled to meet next week in New York.
Lockhart stated that the issue will be “front and center” on the agenda. The Cowboys are on their bye and do not play this weekend so Jones will not have a chance to enforce his policy until after the league’s owners debate whether or not he is allowed to do so.
“I think everyone at this point is frustrated by this situation,” Lockhart said, adding: “The commissioner and the owners do want the players to stand.”
The teeth of the rule change rests with the omission of the stipulation that the disciplinary action will come from the league office. Theoretically, this opens the door for teams punishing players directly.
It is ABOUT time!
These protests have cost the NFL and its teams MILLIONS! Ratings have sunk to all time lows and thus advertising revenue as well. Fans are furious.
It is real simple. Protest on your own time. These lazy 3 minute antics have not been a real protest anyway. These morons don’t have the intestinal fortitude to go out an really protest. They are too busy living their high lifestyle that the millions of dollars they have received while living the American Dream.
There is a major Veterans’ weekend NFL Football Boycott Planned. Click here for details.
We will be not be watching or listening to NFL games on November 12th in solidarity with veterans around the country, as football players have continued to disrespect the national anthem, the American flag, and everything our nation stands for.
What do you think of this CEO pulling ads and sponsorship from the NFL?
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