The controversial regulation of the NFL: not respecting the National Anthem will be sanctioned

The New National Anthem Policy states that players must stand while the United States anthem is playing

The controversial regulation of the NFL: not respecting the National Anthem will be sanctioned

It was a regulation without consultation

On Thursday, May 24, it was known that the NFL executive board, in a meeting with the owners of the franchise teams, agreed by majority to implement a new regulation called "The New National Anthem Policy."

The policy states that all players who are in the field must remain standing when the National Anthem of the United States of America is played as a sign of respect and patriotism.

The policy states that:

  • Those who do not wish to stand during the anthem should remain in the dressing rooms or locations away from the field.
  • The team will be sanctioned if someone belonging to the team is in the field and does not remain standing on the spot.
  • Each club must develop internal disciplinary regulations in accordance with the maximum imposed by the League in order to comply with the aforementioned.
  • Finally, the NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, will be in charge of imposing discipline on the personnel of the League so that this regulation is fulfilled. Those who disregard this policy will be fined with sums not yet established.

The decision seems to be an imposition, because it was taken without prior consultation of the main actors as the players of the teams. There have been already negative replies against this statement.

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Examples of the rejection of this policy can be seen in the statement of the President of the New York Jets, Christopher Johnson, who will support the players who decide to make protests in the field, Johnson would even pay the fines established by the NFL at the hand of the Commissioner. Players from various teams, including Chris Long of the Philadelphia Eagles, last season's champion, said: "This is not patriotism. They should not be confused.

The owners of the teams do not love the country any more than we do that we demonstrate with real actions". Many of these players carry out social actions in favor of their communities, which generates a polarization in terms of the actual definition of patriotism.

One of the owners who abstained from voting for the implementation of the new Regulation was Jed York, owner of the San Francisco 49ers. The abstention of York took place because he considered that the club has been in charge of promoting progress. In the same way, the NFL Players Association has expressed that the opinion and consultation of the actors for the implementation of the aforementioned Regulation has been marginalized from all points of view, which is an undemocratic practice that violates the rights and principles to the freedom of expression.

From the legal point of view, this new policy could be considered as contradicting the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States that establishes, among other things, the prohibition of the creation of any law that prevents and violates freedom of expression.

The politicization of sport has generated this polarization in American society, in one of the most complicated governmental periods that the United States has experienced.

Colin Kaepernick and the Origin of Controversy

To understand the origin of the Regulation, we must return to 2016 when a football player, member of the San Francisco 49ers team, currently an activist for the rights of people of color in the United States, Colin Kaepernick, initiated a series of protest actions by the diverse racial and discriminatory policies of the current administration of the White House ruled by Donald Trump.

These actions consisted of staying on one knee when the National Anthem sounded. The measure caused a domino effect in various teams as many players and even owners of other franchises supported this action, accompanying them in the field replicating knee support for their playing fields.

This action has generated a division up to now, not only inside but outside the field, since society has pronounced itself to support both sides, interfering to the political level where the President of the United States has criticized this protest as "Anti- Patriotic "to declare angrily that" should not even be in the country. "

It is not the first time that demonstrations of protest have been made in the sport by athletes and North American players. One of the best known took place at the Olympic Games in Mexico 1968, where Tommie Smith and John Carlos, belonging to the athletics delegation, posed on the podium with raised fists in favor of the civil rights of people of color in the United States when the National Anthem of the country was played.

Latin American Post | Gabriel Moros
Translated from “El polémico reglamento de la NFL: no respetar el Himno Nacional será sancionado”

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