As if this country couldn’t become more totalitarian, the NFL has now banned players from kneeling during the National Anthem. In a statement released earlier today, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell called the act ‘unpatriotic’, and stated that all team members must now ‘show respect for the flag and the Anthem’. If players do choose to kneel, they will now be fined.
Unsurprisingly, the new policy has ignited many strong reactions, the bulk of which have criticized the NFL for alienating team members protesting against racial inequality.
LET'S GET REAL: If you think kneeling respectfully to protest injustice is more egregious than cops gunning down 12-year-old #TamirRice for holding a toy or murdering #PhilandoCastile in his car with his young daughter, then you have no moral compass. NONE.#NFL #TakeAKnee
— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) May 24, 2018
"Your nonviolent protest during our national nthem is disrespectful" say #NFL owners who sell beer & hot dogs during our national anthem.
— John Fugelsang (@JohnFugelsang) May 24, 2018
Very saddened by the #NFL ruling, here’s why: The best lovers of country will always have a higher love – the human dignity of all God's children. So true patriots have the courage to protest. To disallow kneeling is to encourage state worship rather than a truer patriotism.
— Justin Whitmel Earley (@Justin_W_Earley) May 24, 2018
This is codifying racism into the game of American football to suppress free speech. The NFL–which receives $ to promote the military– is creating a game rule that specifically penalizes Black athletes' protest of racism & police violence. NFL athletes are majority Black. https://t.co/zeN0iVbszc
— Bree Newsome Bass (@BreeNewsome) May 23, 2018
Even more unsurprising, The Trump administration has praised the new policy. “You have to stand proudly for the National Anthem,” President Trump said in an interview early this morning. “And if you don’t, you probably shouldn’t be in the country”, he continued, insinuating that everyone who opposes the National Anthem should be deported.
"You have to stand proudly for the National Anthem. You shouldn't be playing, you shouldn't be there. Maybe they shouldn't be in the country…the NFL owners did the right thing" -President @realDonaldTrump pic.twitter.com/bt36t4EX5u
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) May 24, 2018
It’s interesting how all of the conservatives we constantly see fighting for the protection of free speech and the first amendment are nowhere to be found. I guess that argument only rules in favor of protecting conservative values.
But really, it truly is fascinating how the NFL is attacking players and dismissing them as ‘unpatriotic’ when in actuality, the policy in itself is more unpatriotic and anti-American than what these players are doing. The U.S. is supposed to be a secular nation built on principles of individuality and freedom, yet we have now come to point where we are forcing people to stand for the national anthem. This move is totalitarian and oppressive at best.
The NFL is making a very grave mistake. This policy will do nothing but further alienate both the players (of which the majority are African-American) and the audiences. If the league was actually against racial inequality, they wouldn’t force players to stand for a flag and an administration that continues to perpetuate institutionalized racism and defend the murder and enslavement of African-Americans through the criminal justice system.