So, the NFL passed a new policy stating that all players are required to stand for the national anthem and the flag while present on the field. If players decide not to stand for the anthem, they must stay in the locker room (be invisible) or they will be fined.
This is ironic to me at the very least. The entire point of the protest initially was to bring awareness to marginalized groups that have been mistreated and oppressed. Why stand and salute the flag of a country that does not respect you as a human in return? It makes sense.
What doesn't make sense is the NFL's response. Your idea of a solution is to punish players who choose to use their platform to improve society, rather than support a cause as an organization that has real implications for people who are not athletes. Silencing people who are protesting oppression.
Some football fans have seemed to just ignore why this protest is happening in the first place. A common counter-argument is that the American Flag as well as the American military is being disrespected by these demonstrations. Colin Kaepernick, the man who is credited with starting the NFL anthem protests, has clearly stated that the idea to kneel was given to him by a former U.S. Army soldier who felt that kneeling was MORE respectful than him just sitting on the bench. Kaepernick even said that he is protesting in favor of the military to an extent because veterans are treated quite poorly when they return home and they can also be marginalized.
The NFL has definitely made this situation a lot worse than it should have been. Instead of attempting to understand what the protest is about and trying to educate the masses on the issues, the NFL chose the "cop-out" method by just suppressing it with the hopes that this will all just go away.
I hope this never goes away until the issues are fixed. I hope the players continue to protest as a unified front. Show them that you all have the same courage as Kaepernick. They can't blacklist everyone.
By Joshua Hamer - Contributing Sportswriter
Photo Courtesy of KTLA-5 Los Angeles