NFL owners appears set to give in to backlash by some fans, Donald Trump, and plenty of the league’s owners, and require players stand during the National Anthem. The owners will hold their annual October meeting next week, and the issue will be addressed.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent out a letter to the owners in which he talked about the Anthem protests creating, “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.”
Goodell talked about creating some kind of, “in-season platform to promote the work of our players on these core issues." There is no specific word on what that will entail, although the NBA has worked on PSA videos for prior to games.
The league is trying to develop some kind of compromise on this. There are some owners who support the players, with Jed York being arguably the most prominent. But given the number of owners who made donations to Donald Trump’s campaign, it’s not all that surprising to see them pushing back on this. It’s similar to what the league did with the broader team protests a couple weeks back. Goodell’s memo talks about making real progress on underlying issues, but has pushed back on Anthem protests by shading them in talk unity and team togetherness.
There is not and has not been a single league or owner mention of systemic inequality or racism, or police brutality, which have always been the underlying issues that led to Colin Kaepernick first taking a knee. The NFL is very aware of why Colin Kaepernick took a knee, but their wording makes it clear they want to avoid showing leadership on the real issues in play. There will be much less discussion about pre-game PSAs and the important work players have already been doing in their communities.
And owners like Jerry Jones don’t want to deal with any of those real issues. It is entirely their prerogative to shut this down. It’s private business and they can do what they please. But Jerruh and company really shouldn’t try and white-wash this whole thing and blow smoke up our collective [site decorum]. They don’t care about the underlying issues that affect the majority black athletes in their league.