The national anthem controversy is far from over for the NFL. The league has failed yet again to stop the national anthem protests from occurring during the most recent preseason games.
Last week, two players from the Miami Dolphins, wide receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson kneeled during the anthem and one also raised his fist. Two players on the Philadelphia Eagles raised their fists before a preseason game with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"I'm fighting for Americans and citizens that have been disenfranchised, that have been systemically oppressed for centuries,” said Malcolm Jenkins, Philadelphia Eagles safety, to NBC News, who also participated in the protests last season.
This has ignited a heated debate across the country. A large group of the population, including the president of the U.S., argues that protesting during the national anthem is disrespectful.
President Donald Trump was quick to blast the players that protested in the recent games.
“The NFL players are at it again - taking a knee when they should be standing proudly for the National Anthem. Numerous players, from different teams, wanted to show their “outrage” at something that most of them are unable to define. They make a fortune doing what they love......” tweeted Trump. “.....Be happy, be cool! A football game, that fans are paying soooo much money to watch and enjoy, is no place to protest. Most of that money goes to the players anyway. Find another way to protest. Stand proudly for your National Anthem or be Suspended Without Pay!"
So will these players be suspended like Trump suggests?
Not likely because the NFL said that they won’t be disciplined since the players union talks are ongoing.
The National Anthem controversy and the poor way that the NFL handled it has backfired and has led to a plummet in viewership numbers and ratings. The 2017 NFL view numbers fell by 10 percent compared to the year before and the ratings released the first weekend of the NFL’s postseason were down by 13 percent from 2016.
The NFL finally gave in to public demand in May when the league announced a policy stating that all players on the field must stand during the national anthem or stay in the locker room. However, the league put the rule on hold in July and said that while negotiating with the NFL Players Association, the policy would not be enforced.
So that means players can continue to protest because what’s stopping them?
The protest started as part of the Black Lives Matter movement by Colin Kaepernick in 2016 when he was the quarterback for the 49ers. Kaepernick’s actions have backfired as he is currently an unsigned free agent and has is now in the process of suing the NFL and its owners.
Author’s note: The NFL took too long to put the anthem controversy to rest. They tried bribes and regulations, but nothing is working because there are no real consequences. They will only lose even more audience…