Despite the NFL’s vote to try and muzzle player protest, teams are already taking steps to still allow that to happen.
When NFL players began taking a knee during the national anthem to point a spotlight at police brutality in America, it touched a nerve. Not that young black men and women were being gunned down, rather because someone was kneeling while a song was being played.
That’s what the issue has become about, and it’s frustrating to anyone with a working brain or any ounce of humanity in their heart that we’ve gotten so far off topic. What’s more frustrating is the fact that the threat to the bottom line of billionaire owners has resulted in the banning of protesting during the national anthem at NFL games in 2018.
Then again, we’re a national of people that collectively stared into the sun last year, so no one should be that surprised.
On Wednesday the NFL decided that free speech really doesn’t have a place in its league if it’s going to potentially take some dollars out of the pockets of the owners who run it. Despite the vote that passed a rule penalizing players who protest on the field during the national anthem, not every owner is on board. Some, including New York Jets chairman Christopher Johnson, are already slipping through loopholes in the new rule.
Johnson said that if any Jets players want to protest then the team will pay any fines. It won’t be docked from the pay of the players.
It’s worth noting that team owner Woody Johnson is a Trump supporter who is currently the President’s U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
There’s something to be said about certain teams reacting to the news that protesting is being banned by protesting the act itself. The San Francisco 40ers reportedly abstained from voting, and more of this club-specific pushback is likely to happen this year. Not every team will be on board with muzzling its players, and those teams are already making themselves known.
Whether this is actually in support of players or is the early seeding of free agency attraction is open to interpretation. Either way, it softens the blow of the vote.
It’s all but certain that the voting down of the players right to protest won’t be the end of it. History is going to remember which side of it certain people landed on. Players can and will protest during the national anthem, even if the folks that sign their checks would rather they not. There’s a bigger picture and it’s more meaningful than any financial bottom line.