By Dan Calabrese
The Kaepernick sympathizers and cop-haters are not going to like this. Your protest does no good if it gets no attention, and you can’t get any attention if you’re standing around where there aren’t any TV cameras. The media ate it up when players took a knee and brooded as if they were under some sort of societal oppression, at least until they got the message from viewers that everyone was tired of seeing it and hearing about it.
The only way the new policy allows for the protests to get any attention is if activist players organize massive boycotts of the anthem – we’re talking upwards of half the team – so you can’t help but notice how many guys aren’t there. I wouldn’t put it past the most radical cop-hating players to try it.
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But short of that, the anthem-kneelers have now been officially emasculated:
NFL owners have unanimously approved a new national anthem policy that requires players to stand if they are on the field during the performance but gives them the option to remain in the locker room if they prefer, it was announced Wednesday.
The policy subjects teams to a fine if a player or any other team personnel do not show respect for the anthem. That includes any attempt to sit or kneel, as dozens of players have done during the past two seasons. Those teams will also have the option to fine any team personnel, including players, for the infraction.
“This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room until after the Anthem has been performed.
“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.”
A vote took place at the conclusion of the league’s spring meetings and was approved by all 32 owners.
I suppose some players will be willing to suck up the fines and keep kneeling, but I have a feeling it won’t go on for long if some decide to try it, and for one simple reason: Everyone is tired of it. The radical left and the media aren’t tired of it, of course, but to the extent the public was ever willing to have patience with this, that time has decidedly come and gone. We’ve gone through two seasons of debates and recriminations about this, and there hasn’t been enough attention paid to the fact that the whole protest is based on a lie – that white police officers are systematically killing black men just because they’re racist and they want to.
Almost every case that’s been highlighted as an example of anti-black police brutality – from the Michael Brown incident to this one – has been presented dishonestly to the public and exploited shamelessly by politicians.
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I think much of the public is catching on to how fraudulent this whole thing is, which is one of the reasons the NFL desperately needs to move on from it. It was alienating a substantial portion of the fan base, and it was a controversy that couldn’t possibly have a satisfying ending.
I don’t know for sure that this policy change totally ends it, but if the anthem-kneelers decide to persist and pay the fines, I think both the owners and the fans are going to come down on them pretty hard. They’ll still have the media, though, so we’ll see if this is really the end of it.
Dan writes Christian spiritual warfare novels and does all kinds of other weird things too. Follow all his activity by liking him on Facebook!
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