The National Football League unveiled its new policies surrounding player protests during the national anthem Wednesday, announcing it will allow each team to decide whether they permit the on-field demonstrations.
The revised guidelines follow a disastrous 2017 season that struggled under low television viewership, empty stadiums, and alienated fans after professional athletes repeatedly “took a knee” during the performance of the ‘Star-Spangled Banner.’
The NFL refused to issue a league-wide ruling, but is permitting teams to ban the protests for the first time.
President Trump thrust the issue into the national spotlight last year, demanding team owners and officials ban players from demonstrating during the anthem; saying all Americans “should stand” and honor the flag.
The protests began in 2016, when NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling as a silent protest to “police brutality” across the United States.
AMERICA'S GAME? NFL REJECTS Pro-Veteran SUPER BOWL Ad
The National Football League continued to reach new lows on Tuesday; flat-out rejecting a one-page advertisement in the NFL’s official Super Bowl Program that urged all Americans to “Please Stand” during the performance of the national anthem, reports USA Today.
The ad -submitted by pro-veteran’s organization AMVETS- urged all those attending the big game to remain standing as the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ rings out inside the arena. The material was ultimately rejected by the league for violating the NFL’s commitment to avoiding “political statements” in the program.
“The Super Bowl game program is designed for fans to commemorate and celebrate the game, players, teams and the Super Bowl,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told USA Today.
“It’s never been a place for advertising that could be considered by some as a political statement. The NFL has long supported the military and veterans and will again salute our service members in the Super Bowl with memorable on-field moments that will be televised as part of the game,” he added.
The NFL’s been struggling to come to terms with a disastrous 2017 postseason following months of players “taking a knee” during the performance of the national anthem. President Trump rocketed the issue into the spotlight after he called for a full-fledged boycott of the NFL until league owners demand their athletes remain standing during the ‘Star-Spangled Banner.’
AMERICA’S GAME? NFL FINES Athlete Over Santa Shoes, ALLOWS Players to TRASH US Flag
The “disgraceful” NFL reached a new low this week, fining a professional athlete for wearing red, Christmas-themed cleats during last Sunday’s game while permitting other players to blatantly disrespect the US national anthem and flag.
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara was fined over $6,000 for his holiday cheer; wearing the footwear to promote a GoFundMe page he created to provide football cleats to underprivileged youth hoping to play the game.
“Unfortunately The Grinch stole Christmas!! After the game I said that I would make a gofundme for the fine and donate the proceeds to charity sooooo…. here we are!” he wrote. “A donation will be made to Willie Hall playgrounds recreational department to provide cleats for their youth football programs.”
“Yeah, they were worth it,” Kamara told reporters.
The league’s decision to fine Kamara over his footwear raised eyebrows across the sports community on Friday, following months of the NFL permitting players to openly make political demonstrations on the field without any fines or consequences.