Forcing NFL Players To Stand For The National Anthem Is Not A Smart Idea

Jena Greene | Contributor

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suggesting all players should stand during the anthem is not a wise idea.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter obtained a letter written by the commissioner and posted it publicly to his Facebook this afternoon.

The subject reads “Fall Meeting/National Anthem.”

The letter is five paragraphs long and almost exclusively discusses the recent Anthem protests. Goodell is crystal clear in his opinion about player protests. He writes, “Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem. It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us.”

It’s not exactly a compulsory either-you-stand-or-you’re-fired statement, but it’s darn near close. It’s also worth noting the league is debating instituting a rule that would make standing mandatory.

I can’t be the only one unhappy about this.

Like many other flag-loving Americans, I’ve been a huge critic of the anthem protests. I love my country and have been raised to respect its sacred traditions passed down from generation to generation. My father is among the countless US soldiers that have fought, bled, and died for this country.

And one of the things he died for was our sacred First Amendment. Our Constitution protects free speech at any cost. Even the bad stuff. Hate speech — though abhorrent — is protected.

While the First Amendment doesn’t directly apply to employees under contract in the work place, the spirt of the First Amendment absolutely should. Slurring the words to “Don’t Stop Believing” at 4 am in a karaoke bar falls under this spirt, and yes, speaking out against police brutality and kneeling during the national anthem falls under this banner.

It’s our God-given right as Americans to express ourselves and stand for what we believe in. It’s what makes our country so great.

Roger Goodell is getting dangerously close to actually mandating that players stand for the Anthem. That’s not American. It sounds more like a policy in China or Fascist Italy. Urging everybody to back a cause or an idea is not patriotic. It’s dictatorial.

I hardly believe Goodell’s letter is an attempt to protect the stars and stripes. It’s a ratings gamble. It’s no secret that Monday Night Football hit an all time ratings low last night. This policy is clearly the commissioner’s attempt to catch a falling knife and save the NFL from its free fall. He’s trying to win back viewers before the NFL makes the WNBA look like a blockbuster.

Jena Greene

Contributor

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