NFL Makes Bad Decision Regarding National Anthem Protests (Opinion)
The NFL has made a bad decision regarding protests that happen during the national anthem prior to each football game.
NFL owners have approved a policy that requires players to stand on the sideline during the national anthem. Those players that don't want to stand during the anthem are expected to stay in the locker room, off the field, and out of sight. I think it's a bad decision.
First of all, let me say, unequivocally, I believe that players should stand for the national anthem out of respect for our flag, our country, those that serve in the armed forces, and those who have sacrificed their lives in defense of our freedom, and the rights of those less fortunate than we are.
While every American citizen has a right to peaceably protest, I believe there is a right time and a right place for such a demonstration and the national anthem is not an appropriate platform for this expression. There are better, more effective, and more respectful ways to express feelings about perceived injustices.
However, I think the NFL has just added fuel to the fire, much the same way as President Trump did last September when he called upon NFL teams to fire any player who refused to stand for the national anthem.
At that time, a very small percentage of players were engaged in pre-game protests. I don't know the exact numbers, but I watch a lot of football, and from what I saw, it was a very small number. But, the president's words, much like this new NFL policy, only serves to further enrage those that feel the need to protest, as well as those who have chosen to stand in respect during the national anthem.
We all know what it's like in the workplace when we are commanded not to do something that is well within our right to do. It makes us want to do it just to spite those who are telling us we can't do something.
To me, the solution is to completely ignore the individuals that don't want to respect the flag. Don't show them on television, don't talk about them, and don't draw attention to them in any way. Eventually, they will quit doing it because they get no attention. Those that choose to continue to be disrespectful will be such an inconsequential number of players, it certainly is not worth creating some official policy on the matter.
It's like a two-year- old who throws a tantrum when they don't get their way. If a parent responds to the tantrum, it only reinforces to the toddler the idea that they can manipulate the parent by throwing a tantrum. On the other hand, a parent who ignores the tantrum will generally find the child quits throwing tantrums because eventually they will realize that throwing a tantrum is useless and is not going to be a successful method for getting what they want.
Same thing with these players. Ignore them and they will go away. If they are truly concerned about the issues they say they are kneeling or sitting for, they will seek out a better, more effective way for their voice to be heard. They will discover their message is much more likely to be heard when that message is not being drowned out by their disrespectful actions.
While I appreciate the spirit of what NFL owners are trying to accomplish, I don't believe punishing or restricting a constitutional right is the best way to bring the two sides together in such a way that the flag is being respected and the players' message is being heard. I think both things can be accomplished, but the NFL is choosing the wrong approach.