NFL Considering New Rule To Keep Players In The Locker Rooms During The National Anthem

AmericanFlag300px-National_Football_League_logo.svgMany fans are debating today whether to watch football in a long-standing American tradition (including in my house) on Thanksgiving or join the growing boycott of the National Football League over the continued national anthem protests.  Viewership and stadium attendance continues to drop around the country.  Recently we discussed how the NAACP proposed simply dropping the national anthem as a way to resolve the controversy — a position that some of us strongly objected to.  Now the NFL is proposing an equally bizarre solution: if you cannot get rid of the anthem, get rid of the players.  The NFL is working on a proposal to keep players in the locker room for the national anthem. No players, no protest.  It is an idea that President Donald Trump rejected for good reason.


Roger Goodell and the NFL owners have repeatedly shown that they have no principled position on either side of the debate.  The owners have given every indication that they could care less about the anthem, the protests, or anything other than the bottom line.  That is no change in their standard approach to all things football.  While they love to parade veterans before games, they are only concerned that the protests are costing them money.  Neither the principles involved on either side or the fans calculate prominently in their decisionmaking.

The controversy over the anthem is occurring at the same time of the squabble over Goodell’s contract.  Goodell is not simply viewed as the most anti-fan commissioner in the history of the league but he is without question the most unpopular commissioner.  However, the owners want to renew his contract (he is demanding $50 million a year plus the lifetime use of a private plane from the NFL).  A recent poll shows that 60 percent of fans object to Goodell’s handling of the controversy.  

The reason is that the owners could truly care less about how the fans are treated or how they view Goodell.  Goodell is a useful shill for the owners. They want to pursue policies to bilk fans, but they are able to direct the growing fan outrage at Goodell.  The problem is that fans are beginning to seriously question their interest in the game when balanced against their growing hatred for the NFL.  Roughly 30 percent of fans now say that they are watching less football due to the anthem protest.  That is almost one out of three fans who have been alienated by the handling of the controversy.

In light of this history,  it is little surprise that the owner would prefer to simply keep the players in their locker rooms to avoid the issue — and making any decision on principle.

 The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the owners may refer to a prior policy in just keeping the players inside.  Many fans, including myself, value fans and players alike standing in respect of the flag and the anthem.  I have previously said that I do not agree with the protests during the anthem. It has nothing to do with the merits of the underlying concerns over criminal justice in America. Rather, I view the anthem as the demonstration of our collective commitment to the Constitution and the values that it represents. We have not always lived up to those values but the anthem is to reaffirm both those values and honor all citizens (veteran and non-veterans alike) who have fought to make them a reality.

It is a bit late to expect the NFL owners (who truly include some of the most repellant individuals alive) to stand on principle, but at least show a modicum of guts.  Either stand with the players or the anthem, but do not try to avoid any decision by hiding the players or canceling the anthem.  It is also unfair to most players. Most players and the vast majority of fans want to observe the national anthem at the start of games (like so many other sports).  Some 77 percent of fans believe that players should stand for the anthem or not play.

Fortunately, we will be holding our own football game today with the Turley Turkey Bowl, which has now been running for roughly 50 years.  We will be joining by a large number of our friends and neighbors.  While the game may not have as many all-star performances, the management and the players and the fans will be celebrating the day (and what it represents) together.

54 thoughts on “NFL Considering New Rule To Keep Players In The Locker Rooms During The National Anthem”

  1. I don’t care what anyone thinks of Donald Trump. One of the reasons people voted for him is he said what was on a lot of people’s minds. As far as Colin Kapernick is concerned,he has a right to his own feelings of how things are in this world. I may not agree with him but this is still America. It’s America for everybody else too. You might think this country sucks, it doesn’t mean the rest of us have to agree with you. Just curious, how many other sporting events( hockey, basketball, baseball or soccer) make their teams stay in the locker rooms during the national anthem?

  2. I believe that another reason for the drop in NFL attendance is the brain-injury problem. Many people do not want to support a sport that results in serious brain injuries to many players.

  3. Well, professor,maybe the full story is in order, since Americans have anemic memories and are generally clueless.

    Tom E. Curran of Comcast Sportsnet New England reported in August 2016 that teams appearing on the field for the national anthem was a relatively recent development in the NFL.

    Curran said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed the practice began in 2009 and added, “As you know, the NFL has a long tradition of patriotism. Players are encouraged but not required to stand for the anthem.”

    In 2015, Sen. John McCain and Sen. John Flake released a joint oversight report on what they called the “paid patriotism,” saying the Department of Defense gave as much as $6.8 million in taxpayer money to professional sports teams to honor the military at games and events over the past four years. McCain criticized the move in a statement at the time, saying, “Fans should have confidence that their hometown heroes are being honored because of their honorable military service, not as a marketing ploy.”

    So the solution is not something new, it’s something old. Supporting a repulsive p*ssy grabber who had five deferments for ‘bone spurs’ is American! but criticizing those who protest police brutality in minority communities is unAmerican? SAD!

    1. “criticizing those who protest police brutality in minority communities is unAmerican?”

      What words of wisdom has Mumbles Kaepernick imparted over the daytime execution of Detective Sean Suiter? What solutions has he provided to deal with Baltimore’s high homicide rate? Nah, he’s too busy meeting with P. Diddy, getting his photo taken in front of an image of Linda Sarsour, and retweeting images of his GQ cover.

      What has Black Lives Matter said about all the continued carnage? Yep, that’s right……crickets.

  4. “The NFL is working on a proposal to keep players in the locker room for the national anthem.”

    Considering it was a financial ($$$) agreement between DoD and the owners to put the players on the field during the anthem in the first place, I don’t object to the players not being on the field now.

    I support the protest. I don’t stand for the national anthem, haven’t for decades; flag stamps go on envelops upside down, a sign of distress; Saturday mornings is protest time on a busy street corner. Small protests, but protest none the same.

    The players know they are protesting because of the treatment of Blacks in the criminal justice system. The Black players know they are targets of the system as are their families. The white players understand that as well, even though they are privileged by the color of their skin to not be automatic targets.

    The best way to stop the protests is to remove the reason for them in the first place: stop targeting Blacks, better training for cops, stop militarizing the cops, hold cops who brutalize suspects accountable for their actions of assault and murder.

  5. The NFL has created more millionaire black men than any other business in the world. It is 78% black. And some of those SJW black players are killing the golden goose, following a player who has said NOTHING the past year. This is about Colin Kapernick and the liberal MSM. GQ made Kapernick their man of the year. JJ Watt collected over $100 million for hurricane victims in his town, but the MSM chose Kap!

  6. This NFL business has enjoyed years of growth on the backs of the fans who have willingly paid for the entertainment. The fans have even gone so far as accepting increased taxes to subsidize the building of the stadiums. I cannot think of any other entertainment business that pays their employees the ridiculous salaries that the NFL players receive. If Goodell and the owners believe hiding the players during the opening ceremonies will eliminate the controversy, they’re only fooling themselves. A decrease in attendance and viewers will have corporate sponsors and advertisers rethinking their relationship with the NFL. When revenues go down, then players will begin to see salaries go down as well. If they don’t recognize early enough, they may lose their fan base permanently.

    1. I hate the Cowboys, but have noticed that Jones and his PR team appear to be trying hard to maintain viewership. The number of pro-troop ads Dallas has put on in the last month is remarkable. Are you noticing similar moves in other markets?

  7. The underlying mentality is based on ignorance.
    It’s an insult to the game.
    It’s an insult to the fans.
    It’s an insult to the Nation.

  8. I’ll bet a dollar to a donut the protesters (players) don’t have a clue why they’re protesting and after the season let’s see what positive things they’ll do about whatever they’re protesting.

  9. The NFL is no different than any other business. They care about their customers only to the extent that the customers continue to be customers. Once the customers stop being customers, the level of concern, if not care, rises. The NFL’s situation is unique in one respect however: satisfying their customers conflicts with satisfying their inventory, that is,the players. If the NFL forces the players to stand for the national anthem, there may be a boycott, hence no game, hence nothing for the customers to pay for. So, the owners are trying desperately for a compromise. Principle has nothing to do with any of this and we should not expect otherwise.

    1. The vast majority of players stand and most would love to kick the asses of the sh!tbirds that are hurting their wallet w/ this hissy fit. Their are very few foreign players in football. There are many in baseball and basketball. They LOVE the US and all stand, many Latino baseball players sing the anthem. They know what it’s like to live in bad countries, like Venezuela.

  10. There is a time and place for public protest. For an entertainer to use his stage for political protest is not that time nor place. And, football players are part of the entertainment industry.

    I would propose a rule entitled: Protest on your own damn time.

    If a player uses the football field for political or religious protest he will removed from that game.

  11. Maybe the 30 percent need to be taught the difference between patriotism and jingoistic militarism.

  12. Now may I suggtest the reader check out the New York Times editorial commentary today by Brent Staples. Which would you say is rather thoughtful and which is blah blah blah?

  13. For Trump, the issue seems to have more to do with control as opposed to a lack of respect for the flag. Many people have tried to define the protest on their own terms so that they can reject it, paying no attention to the participant’s reasons. I think many choose not to be reminded of the issue so that it can continue to be ignored.

    I remember when I played high school basketball, in the final years of the Vietnam War with protests raging on college campuses (my high school was literally a block from the University of Minnesota). Many athletes didn’t put their hand on their hearts and some didn’t stand. In college, (the war had ended) I don’t remember it as being an issue but this didn’t start with Kaepernick.

  14. “Roughly 30 percent of fans now say that they are watching less football due to the anthem protest. That is almost one out of three fans who have been alienated by the handling of the controversy.”

    This is exactly why protests do not belong in the workplace. You are there to work. The business owner, like you, is there to make money. Protest on your own time, and don’t drag your employer, your customers, or your sponsors into it.

    I personally do not care to watch any player who wears socks proclaiming cops to be pigs, or who disrespects our national anthem. Taking a knee as a visitor to any other country during their anthem would rightly be taken as a sign of disrespect. It is like turning your back on a friend, or in this case, the country where you make millions of dollars a year.

    Hard Left politics have encroached on most aspects of our daily lives – preschool through graduate school, the IRS, NSA, FBI, mainstream media, most of CA, PBS, NPR, the Oscars, art hanging on Congressional walls, churches, the performing arts, and now football. The venues where you can get together with a politically mixed group of friends is shrinking.

    People like me just want to turn on the TV and watch the game, or realistically, the commercials. If we want politics, we know where to seek them out. If politics gets thrust upon us when we’re not in the mood, we have plenty of other channels or DVR to watch.

  15. Let’s hope at least for a resurgence in the fan base of high school football and dump the NFL. Keep the money local and broaden the support to many more players who are actually worthy of praise.

  16. We all know who started it and who still doesn’t have a job. Keeping the players in the tunnel or the locker room is just chicken and the fans will see right through it. Fans may be drunk, but they are not as dumb as the owners think. There are a lot of season tickets that are not going to be renewed next year. You can thank both the owners and Goodell for that. Goodell should be fired, 50mil and a private jet for life for losing the league money, where does he get off?

    JT, good luck on your game. May it be injury free. 🙂

    1. Paul C. Schulte,…
      -Teams like the Browns,or the 49ers, should probably stay in the locker room for the entire game.😁

      1. Tom Nash – I have posited before that the bottom two teams in the NFL be shifted to the CFL and the top two teams from the CFL join the NFL. The change won’t be that great either way and it puts some pressure on the bottom feeders not to stay there. 🙂 This change would happen yearly and the Canadian teams would get the bottom teams draft choices, which they would keep. The American team could only come back if it won the CFL and then would be sent to the facilities of the bottom feeder.

        1. Paul C. Schulte,…
          – Have you considered the kind of posts you can anticipate from Isaac if the Canadian teams did well in the NFL?!? 😧

          1. Tom Nash – Canada does well in the USA playing hockey and riding cross-country, plus show jumping. Not sure he knows about that though. 🙂

  17. Jackasses

    How many millions of dollars more per year do they need to be paid to show a modicum of respect.

    If the league adopts this policy they are going to be in trouble next year when fans decide whether to purchase their season tickets. It’s very easy to say “it ain’t worth it anymore” and bid them farewell.

    Of all the corporate welfare they receive in the form of free stadiums, tax breaks, and kowtowing by politicians they receive annually and still they cannot show respect for our flag and anthem.

    It’s time for local governments to punt the NFL and instead send the money to those in need.

  18. I really think this is overblown. Wasn’t a big issue until you know who decided to make it one for political gain. And Pence who foolishly wasted money and secret service resources for same end

    1. Yes but hey aren’t in power anymore, I assume you meant the Hillarites since you decide to do the cheap shot routine.

      But the way we put it in the military was If you can’t trust them in the training area can you trust them on the battlefield? Such a move by the owners and let’s face it NFL is run by the owners can you trust them on the field? The dude who started this already proved the answer was No.

      And as for your other problem…. at the rate your going there will be no DNC so it’s a moot comment. Then all we have to do is dump the RINOs

    2. Except that Pence had scheduled the visit to the game to observe the honoring of Peyton Manning, months before. Also except that Pence was the governor of Indiana and is a huge Colts fan.
      Even if you forget those things, are you upset that public funds were spent for him to attend a public event? Or are you upset that he left?
      If he left as a political stunt? Are you upset that he had the temerity to react to a political stunt with a political stunt?

      The kneeling is a political stunt is it not?

      1. So far a ‘cheap’ political stunt. The easy out on a federal level is revoke their right to use the word National in their title.

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