National Football League (NFL) commissioner Roger Goodell today (May 23) announced the league’s new policy on player protests during the national anthem. It ignores Colin Kaepernick and other players’ protest aims—to bring awareness to and end anti-Black police violence—and continues to frame their actions as “unpatriotic.”
From the statement: “This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem. Personnel who choose not to stand for the anthem may stay in the locker room until after the anthem has been performed.”
Statement from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell pic.twitter.com/1Vn7orTo1R— NFL (@NFL) May 23, 2018
Players who protest during the anthem will accrue fines for their teams, and “the commissioner will impose appropriate discipline on league personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.”
The NFL Players Association issued a statement making it clear that players were not included in the league’s decision, and vowed to challenge aspects of the policy that clash with the union’s agreement.
NFLPA (@NFLPA) May 23, 2018
The news prompted immediate comment online, as people pointed out how the new policy impacts the predominately Black players’ First Amendment rights and falls in line with President Donald Trump’s push to punish them.
This is white supremacy, period. A blatant and disgusting attempt to strip Black athletes of their voice and reduce them to a number on a jersey – all while continuing to profit off of their bodies. https://t.co/hHyILzVM9P— Rashad Robinson (@rashadrobinson) May 23, 2018
The NFL taking away black player’s freedom of speech during the national anthem is a direct reflection of America today. They love when we’re entertaining them but hate when we’re no longer passive towards wrongdoing. Then we’re a threat to the historic social structure. #facts— Isaac K. Wright (@Ik_wright) May 23, 2018
Wild that the @NFL is making players stand for a flag, but will fine them for exercising what it stands for.— Sleeping Giants (@slpng_giants) May 23, 2018
The NFL is either …— VanLathan (@VanLathan) May 23, 2018
1. Totally tone deaf to the social issues players are kneeling about, and clumsily navigating a changing societal landscape.
2. A racist cartel who’d actually rather silence those voices in the name of commerce.
Hint: It’s the second one.
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
If anyone doubted that the NFL was the new plantation it looks like that’s been settled.— Justina Ireland-Hiatus? Maybe. (@justinaireland) May 23, 2018
Black bodies are only valuable when engaged in the work approved of by white supremacy.