Did the NFL just cave?
When the league announced a new policy regarding protests against the national anthem back in May, it was regarded as a win for President Trump, who was no fan of the disrespectful display. The policy specifically stated: “All team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.” (RELATED: NFL’s New National Anthem Policy Is a Win For Trump.)
Simple enough, no? The policy allowed for protests off the field, for players who still felt the need to show disagreement with a country that made them millionaires. Anyone who disregarded the rule would be forced to pay a fine or face another punishment.
You can see the entire policy below:
Here is the NFL’s new national anthem policy: pic.twitter.com/ybjKoO6E3s
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 23, 2018
The players’ union was quick to file a grievance over the new policy, which has led to some uncertainty on whether or not the policy will actually be implemented this year. (RELATED: NFL Players File Grievance Over National Anthem Policy – ‘Infringes On Our Rights’.)
Well, you might as well tear up that plan and throw it out the window. After yesterday’s games where a few select players knelt during the anthem, it looks like the league is totally backing down on its former policy.
— Dan Bongino (@dbongino) September 9, 2018
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A report in ESPN suggests the NFL is backing down from implementing an anthem policy this year:
The NFL is not expected to implement a new policy on the national anthem this season, league sources told ESPN, no matter how many meetings and conversations occur regarding the topic.
The new policy is going to be no policy — at least for this season, according to sources.
NFL not expected to implement a new national anthem policy this season, per sources.https://t.co/uEyCOYWJIm
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 9, 2018
Well, that’s disappointing. We already know the lingering controversy is hurting the NFL’s ratings. As President Trump pointed out, the opening game of the 2018 season saw diminished viewership:
Wow, NFL first game ratings are way down over an already really bad last year comparison. Viewership declined 13%, the lowest in over a decade. If the players stood proudly for our Flag and Anthem, and it is all shown on broadcast, maybe ratings could come back? Otherwise worse!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 9, 2018
Look, if the NFL wants to allow the anthem protests to continue without penalty, they’re perfectly within their rights to do so. But after announcing a punitive policy regarding insulting displays to our great national anthem, backing down at this point shows the league lacks a backbone.
The NFL needs to make a decision. Either punish the players who protest, or don’t. The fans want an answer, not more limbo.
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