As the 2018 NFL season is nearby, it’s the time that we can finally go watch football again. However, it’s number one controversy at the moment is the ongoing issue regarding the National Anthem.
For starters, the anthem is played before the games start. Traditionally, most sports fans, players, coaches and executives stand at attention while the song is being played. However, there are those who don’t stand and protest during the anthem.
The NFL has been dealing with this issue for two years and it doesn’t look like it will go away anytime soon. There are fans and President Donald Trump who have a problem with the players not standing as a sign of disrespect towards the flag. Those say it’s offensive because it’s a slap in the face to the military who sacrifice their lives to defend America from harm’s way.
To go back down memory lane, here is how it all started.
In the 2016 season, Colin Kaepernick was the originator of the anthem protest that got backlash. The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback originally sat during the anthem in a preseason game vs Packers. His reason for not standing is because of unarmed African Americans were being gunned down by police officers without any repercussions.
Kaepernick would talk to a former NFL player and military veteran Nate Boyer on how to handle the situation. Boyer suggested that Kaepernick take a knee as a sign of respect instead of sitting. So, he began to kneel during the anthem and still got criticism. Some say he’s not on a NFL roster because of his stance or his declining performance.
Other players like his ex-teammate Eric Reid joined him in the protests. Some players took a knee and others raised their fists in the air to show solidarity to Kaepernick.
The Trump Effect
Then, President Trump expressed his views on the matter publicly. On September 23rd, 2017 while at a political rally in Alabama, he urged NFL owners to fire players who don’t stand for the anthem.
His comments sparked a league reaction and condemnations. As a result, at least 200 players sat or knelt during the national anthem in Week 3 of the NFL season. Also, there were some teams that locked arms as a sign of unity.
Attempts to solve the issue
So to try to rectify the issue, the owners, Players’ Association, NFLPA director DeMaurice Smith and commissioner Roger Goodell had meetings with each other in the offseason. Then on May 23rd, Goodell made an announcement about the new National Anthem policy. It states that all players and coaches on the field must stand for the anthem and those who don’t must stay in the locker room. If they kneel during the anthem, the team will be fined. It had unanimous approval by the owners except for two without the NFLPA’s say.
The NFL thought they finally solved the problem but majority of the players disagreed with the new rule. Some players like Jurrell Casey have said that they will continue to kneel and take the fines. Jets owner Woody Johnson said publicly that he doesn’t mind his players kneeling and will pay their fines.
What made things more interesting was the Miami Dolphins having their rules about the national anthem. Their rule states that if any of their players protest during the anthem, they can suspend them up to four games. In response to it, the league and the Players’ Association decided to put a halt to their policy.
They will go back to square one and have conversations in resolving this issue. So instead of talking about whether or not the Philadelphia Eagles will repeat as Super Bowl champions, we are still talking about this anthem controversy.
The Last Word
The National Anthem controversy has gone on for way too long that it ruins football. I mean people watch sports for entertainment and to get away from their real lives not to see political protests. So it’s my hope that the owners and players will finally work together to come up with a solution. Hopefully, we can get back to watching and enjoying football again.