Forced patriotism: New rules from the NFL will forbid players to protest police brutality and white supremacy during the National Anthem.
Caving to pressure from President Trump and other white supremacists, the NFL will force players to stand for the National Anthem. In a deplorable move, the NFL has released a new policy mandating that all players and staff “shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.”
NFL owners have unanimously approved a new national anthem policy that requires players to stand if they are on the field during the performance but gives them the option to remain in the locker room if they prefer, it was announced Wednesday.
The announcement was swiftly denounced by many:
The NFL players’ protests have never been about the military or the flag. They’re about police brutality and white supremacy. Failing to protest injustice in America is not patriotic, it’s dangerous. #TakeAKnee
— ACLU (@ACLU) May 23, 2018
The NFL players’ protests during the anthem has never been about the military or the flag.
It has always been about police brutality and white supremacy.
Failing to protect the right of protest by ALL is not patriotic – it is an erosion of our First Amendment rights.
— Fredon Moniteau (@FMoniteau) May 23, 2018
This is why players take a knee. It has nothing to do with the flag. It has always been about police brutality and white supremacy. The NFL’s decision is racist and wrong. pic.twitter.com/Sey0czzHIu
— Together we rise (@Matsamon) May 23, 2018
This is codifying racism into the game of American football to suppress free speech. The NFL–which receives $ to promote the military– is creating a game rule that specifically penalizes Black athletes’ protest of racism & police violence. NFL athletes are majority Black. https://t.co/zeN0iVbszc— Bree Newsome (@BreeNewsome) May 23, 2018
The NFL’s decision today to penalize players who kneel during the anthem is wrong and it will be hurt by this as an organization. Peaceful protest is patriotic and as much a part of what makes a country great as its military.
— Shannon Coulter (@shannoncoulter) May 23, 2018
Our anthem says we’re “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” Freedom & bravery took a big hit today. All who love our country & our freedoms should reject the #NFL owners’ shameful targeting of protesting players–and their spineless caving to #Trump‘s pressure.
— EJ Dionne (@EJDionne) May 23, 2018
For the record, the Anthem protests have never been about denouncing the military, they have always been about protesting the white supremacy and police brutality that permeates our society, causing real harm to our fellow Americans who happen to be people of color.
In addition, there is nothing more patriotic than protesting injustice. In fact, preventing players from protesting racial injustice while the National Anthem is being played is ultimately a rejection of patriotism and the secular values upon which this nation was built.
Bottom line: By announcing a ban on player protests during the National Anthem, the NFL is giving tacit endorsement to police brutality and the white supremacy of President Donald Trump.