May 24, 2018

NFL Nixes Kneeling but Funds Leftist Causes

Teams will be fined if players kneel during the national anthem. Will it bring back the fans?

Clearly feeling the financial squeeze of tanking viewer ratings, the National Football League on Wednesday announced a new policy forbidding players from kneeling during the national anthem. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stated, “This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem. Personnel who choose not to stand for the anthem may stay in the locker room until after the anthem has been performed.” He added, “We believe today’s decision will keep our focus on the game and the extraordinary athletes who play it — and on our fans who enjoy it.” Teams who allow their players to violate the new rule will face fines from the league. How much? Reports don’t say, and that’s significant. If the fine doesn’t substantially hurt teams, why not just pay it? The Jets owner has already said he will.

While not directly confirming that plummeting ratings and the resulting revenue loss spurred the rule change, Goodell essentially admitted the move is just to placate fans. “It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic,” he complained. “This is not and was never the case.” While it may be true that “thousands of NFL players” are not unpatriotic, why did Goodell and the NFL not also call out the false narrative behind these players’ protests — the demonstrably false claim that law enforcement across the nation are guilty of institutional racism against black Americans?

The reason why tens of thousands of football fans turned away in disgust from the NFL was because the league so spinelessly bowed to malcontents who used the sport as a platform to propagate a divisive and pernicious lie. And sadly, even as it was making its apparent about-face, the league committed itself to promoting leftist politics by announcing an agreement to contribute millions of dollars for “social justice” causes.

What has driven most fans away from the game they had previously enjoyed was the absolutely unnecessary injection of politics into the sport. The fact of the matter is most NFL fans watch the game to be entertained by the amazing athletic spectacle of football. Goodell allowed for it to be ruined by leftist politics and anti-American activists. Will this new policy do anything to stop the league from hemorrhaging more fans, let alone win them back? Time will tell, but something tells us the two-part cop-out — allowing locker room protests and funding social justice — still fumbles the ball.


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