NFL Players Scheming Behind Closed-doors to Invent New Protests
Two days ago, we said that Trump wasn’t truly happy with the new NFL kneeling rules. He’s already being proven right.
According to sports media reporters, NFL players are indeed looking for ways to protest the National Anthem while following the letter of the new law, which imposes only light requirements on players.
The change in the kneeling policy was announced last week during a taped interview with Donald Trump, who gave his off-the-cuff analysis of the change. The interview wasn’t aired until the next morning on Fox and Friends.
While saying that if the NFL is being honest about their move to fix the kneeling trouble, then it’s “the right thing.” But, he held back on full-blown praise.
“Well, I think that’s good. I don’t think people should be staying locker rooms, but still, I think it’s good. You have to stand proudly for the National Anthem… or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there, maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.“
The vote to approve the new anthem policies was universally accepted by team owners, except for by Jed York, owner of the San Francisco 49ers who abstained.
NFL Reporters on the Scuttlebutt
Jim Trotter is a reporter for NFL media with experience working at ESPN and with Sports Illustrator. Based in San Diego, Trotter tweeted:
While admittedly a small sample size, some players are telling me they’re *considering* staying in locker room or making a different on-field gesture simply b/c they feel this new policy is a direct challenge to them. Before today, they hadn’t thought about demonstrating in ‘18.
— Jim Trotter (@JimTrotter_NFL) May 23, 2018
Further, Trotter tweeted:
“The anthem vote is particularly interesting in that 8-10 owners – before the meetings – privately expressed support for keeping policy as is. Some told me they believed the protests were fading and the focus should be on the positive community work being done by players/league.”
But again — only the owner of the 49ers abstained.
Then, there’s Jason Reid with ESPN who said that head coaches are expressing “concern about large groups of players often remaining in the locker room,” saying that this could lead to problems. These coaches believe that it would’ve been better to endorse a straight-across-the-line policy like in the NBA, where you stand or you’re out.
Now, figures Reid, it’ll be the coaches who will have to pay for trouble caused by the separations that will prevent players from uniting as a team.
To compare the two, Jim Trotter is retweeting photos of Muhammad Ali’s legendary knock-out and Jason Reid is busy retweeting about Trayvon Martin, so I’m more like to believe Trotter is looking to report the news as-is compared to Reid.
Trotter also retweeted this without comment, saying that it’s a “player speaking out.”
— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) May 23, 2018
If the tweet is deleted, then it’s two time Superbowl camp Chris Long saying “These owners don’t love america more than the players demonstrating and taking real action to improve it.”
Following the Letter Of The Law, But Not The Spirit
The NFL’s official wording…
“NFL team owners approved a policy… requiring players… to stand during the national anthem before games. It also gives players the option to remain off the field if they choose not to stand and respect the anthem.”
…leaves players open to interpretation.
For comparison, this is what the WNBA and the WNBA demand of players:
“…players, coaches and trainers are to stand and line up in a dignified posture along the sidelines or on the foul line” during the National Anthem.
The NHL doesn’t have a code defining what happens during the Anthem, and it seems that individual teams don’t have a discipline or respect problem. Gary Bettman, the league’s commissioner, saying that players are encouraged to be political “before the game, after the game, on their off time.”
It’s not necessarily what’s in the rule book that causes players to act a certain way, but the NBA and the NHL both have the same result: player standing respectfully for the Anthem.
Frankly I think it’s all down to an attitude problem displayed by the players themselves. Both the NHL and the NBA have dress code policies where the NFL does not, and I strongly believe that arriving to work in a suit and tie really changes the way that the players, many of them very young men straight out of high school, view their job.
What I'm hearing from players: Those who weren't planning demonstrations for next season are now back in the conversation, discussing ways to skirt to new rules "just to spite the NFL."
— Robert Klemko (@RobertKlemko) May 23, 2018
As well, Craig Melvin on the Today Show seems to be having the same conversation, saying that after speaking with a former NFL player he heard that the current players are indeed working on new ways to protest.
“I talked to a former NFL player yesterday who has said that players are already talking about other ways in which they can protest.” @craigmelvin talks response to new NFL policy pic.twitter.com/opgMKznkUC
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) May 24, 2018
Sources: The Hill, NFL, ESPN, Sporting News