NFL owners consider changing anthem policy if protests continue

    When the season comes to a close, owners will decide the fate for next season

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    December 13, 2017

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    NFL players may have to revert back to pre-2009 and stay inside the locker room during the national anthem.

    Some NFL players have made a statement with their repeated kneeling protests during the national anthem, which has caused the league owners to reconsider the anthem policy for next season.

    On Tuesday, Nov. 21, the Washington Post said some NFL owners believe there is a strong possibility they will evaluate the national anthem policy during the offseason if the protests persist.

    If this happens, the players would stay in the locker room during the national anthem. This was the policy before 2009. Teams began to stand together on the sidelines for the anthem following 2009.

    President Donald Trump tweeted about the issue with disapproval, writing “that’s almost as bad as kneeling.”

    The league has been under intense pressure from Trump and some fans to require players to stand during the anthem. In September, Trump said during a campaign speech in Alabama, owners should fire any player who protested during the anthem.

    The NFL would be making a smart move by requiring teams to stay in the locker room while the anthem plays. The players are essentially at work on the field, because their job is to play football. They don’t need to be on the field for the national anthem, as it doesn’t fall under their job requirements.

    The NFL rules do not say a player must stand for the national anthem. This creates a lot of openness to interpretation for players to protest the anthem. Protesting the anthem is a right every citizen has, and it is not unpatriotic. It is simply using one’s right to freedom of speech as an American citizen.

    However, if NFL players stayed in the locker room during the anthem, there would be much less complaining from the public. If players want to protest, they are still able to do so off the field and on their own time.

    Nobody is taking away the players’ right to protest — especially because standing on the sidelines with their teams wasn’t even required until 2009. Before that year, teams would stand for the anthem in response to any major tragedies that happened in our country, out of respect. For all other games, they would remain in the locker room.

    Colin Kaepernick’s reason for kneeling was to fight racism and police brutality. The meaning behind why he knelt in the first place was lost after Trump said it was because he didn’t love America or respect our military. This drastically altered what many Americans thought the protest was for.

    If the NFL players want their voices heard, they have plenty of other platforms on which to do so. They don’t have to kneel during games, and they also can’t be forced to stand for the anthem. The easiest solution would be to go back to staying in the locker room.

    There are countless protests occurring around the country for real issues similar to ones Kaepernick was protesting by kneeling. It would certainly make headlines if a few NFL players showed up and dedicated their time to protests off the field.