I am a lifelong NBA fan. And because the NBA is generally ahead of the curve when it comes to social issues, it’s astounding for me to see the NFL continuously mishandle situations related to social issues and shoot itself in the foot.
Ever since Colin Kaepernick first took a knee during the national anthem in 2016, the NFL has responded to the protest and it’s evolution(s) several times, and each time, they have provided nothing but empty words and transparent actions. First it was NFL owners subtly-but-not-really-that-subtly exiling Kaepernick, then there was the empty show of “unity”, and now a new policy that subtly-but-not-really-that-subtly silences players. The new policy:
There are a few problems to note right off the bat. The first: this might not actually even be legal, based on the grey area between American First Amendment rights, workplace law, and public policy, particularly because the NFL Player’s Association, the union that represents the players, was never consulted.
Second: less than a day after it was announced, we learned that not only did some of the 32 owners not agree to this policy change, this policy change resulted not from a formal vote, but a casual, informal poll. Jed York, owner of the San Francisco 49ers, the team Kaepernick last played for, abstained from the process all together. Christopher Johnson, owner of the New York Jets, has already said that he would personally pay for any fines his players accrues.
And last but certainly not least, many of the owners who “agreed” with this new policy have since admitted that a big factor that played a role in this new policy is a fear of President Trump and his continuous comments…