Culture

Goodell Concedes, Tells NFL Players to Stand for Anthem

Motivated by tanking ratings, the commissioner issued a memo instructing NFL players to show some respect.

Thomas Gallatin · Oct. 11, 2017

This is what happens when you allow company employees to essentially give customers the middle finger and then defend your employees’ behavior as a right to express themselves, all while insinuating that it is customers who are in the wrong for finding the behavior offensive. The business loses those customers, or in the NFL’s case, fans. Those fans, tired of being insulted by self-righteous NFL players, have begun rejecting the league in droves, not bothering to waste large sums of money for tickets and even tuning out of televised games. NFL team owners are beginning to panic. Hence the memo released by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday.

The memo reads in part:

Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem. It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us. We also care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues. The controversy over the Anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues. We need to move past this controversy, and we want to do that together with our players.

It’s also worth noting that the NFL has enjoyed huge tax breaks as a “nonprofit,” as well as substantial taxpayer assistance for the building of its stadiums. With NFL ratings continuing to tank, it’s likely this change of policy came about more out of concern over shrinking profits rather than any newfound patriotic conviction. Nonetheless, this policy change is a win for NFL fans and Americans in general.

What most Americans know and what it appears many NFL players need to learn is that whatever one’s grievance may be, protesting against America’s primary symbols — symbols that represent the only nation in the history of the world whose sole reason for existence is the promotion of Liberty — is to contradict the very notion of their protest. Moreover, if one’s protest is designed to shed light on a legitimate issue of grievance, broadly insulting the entire nation and those who have bled and died for the country they love only serves to offend and alienate people who might have otherwise listened.

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