Whether players should be required to stand during the national anthem has been a lingering topic for more than a year, and NFL owners feel they’re reaching a workable compromise.
Judy Battista of NFL Media notes the new policy would allow for players to choose between two options.
Anthem policy is compromise — if players are on sideline, will stand. But players may choose to stay in the locker room if they prefer not to stand.
— Judy Battista (@judybattista) May 23, 2018
ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirmed the news, saying teams can be fined for any flag/anthem disrespect.
The simple truth is no compromise will be perfect.
With this option, at least the players have a choice. Still, there are two criticisms of this decision certain to be mentioned in the future.
Essentially, the owners are saying, “You can protest, but only out of sight.” However, kneeling during the anthem was meant to bring awareness to one specific issue. This robs the players of that opportunity.
As a result, we could see players demonstrate anyway. What happens from there, whether a penalty or a monetary fine is uncertain. Each NFL team can makes its own policy about that.
Plus, “disrespect” of the flag is subjective. Since the right to protest is protected by the U.S. Constitution, it’s logically consistent to say that it’s not disrespectful. But the opposite side of the conversation believes it’s absolutely, 100-percent that.
Well-intended though this discussion may be, the change might not provide the solutions owners were hoping for.