Today the NFL announced a new rule regarding National Anthem protocol; a sentence pre-2016 me would've never imagined.
Essentially all players and personnel on the sidelines must stand for the National Anthem. Not only stand, but give the flag quote "appropriate respect". What that means.... who knows? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
They (players/coaches) don't have to stand if they don't have to. They are just required to remain in the locker-room. Any sort of "protest" or actions deemed disrespectful will warrant both a penalty on the field and fine.
Many people are upset with the league saying the rule is a violation of free speech, pro-racism, and an a "forced nationalist display".
Personally, I'm sick of this topic and kind of hate people on both sides of the argument because it is just another at the end of the day trivial issue causing incredible divide in this country. Not to sit on a fence but I can see where both sides come from. I am not a sheep and do not stick to one side. I make no sense politically. I hate government assistance I don't think welfare should exist (v far right stance), but also hate homelessness and think we need to do more to stop it which completely contradicts that stance. I'm pro choice, but definitely would prefer that abortions didn't happen. I am pro gay rights AF but also think the 913 gender shit is fucking lunacy.
My 25 cent take on it is this: I am fine with the NFL making this rule. It definitely infringes on player's rights, but the NFL is allowed to do that. We all give up certain rights with our employers. I'd love to wear basketball shorts and flip flops to work, but they say it's against the rules so I can't do that. Idk all the technical business terms, but as a professional sports league they can have their own rules that players have to follow. It's not a right to play in the league it's a privilege. I don't agree with a lot of what the NFL believes in but understand that they are totally within their right to act however they want, regardless of how asinine at times. More on this in the P.S.
What ole Dozo cares about is the change to kickoffs. I feel like this story has gotten way less attention as the politically driven National Anthem stuff pushes all the headline buttons. Special teams are inherently boring to most, (I'll go to the bathroom during a punt) so of course a change to kickoffs to casual fans may not seem like a huge deal, but it should.
Watch this video to see how the league is castrating the kickoff. In classic NFL-form they did not send out this tweet thoroughly explaining until 6:30 pm.
Further explanation to the new rule.
It's a different font because I stole it from ESPN. I think they'll be ok.
I fucking hate it. No running start, crazy restrictions on how you can block, eliminating the wedge. This is a major step towards the NFFL: National Flag Football League.
I'm all for trying to make the game safer, but at a certain point you need to realize that football is football. Hitting is pretty important part of the game. Kind of a big deal in the ole piggyskin tossy-catch. Football is a dangerous sport and we need to accept that. It's like trying to make a "healthy" pizza, sure there are things you can do to cut calories, thinner crust, less cheese, healthier toppings but at the end of the day it's still a fucking pizza. A thin-crust veggie pizza still isn't "good" for you. There's only so much you can do before you completely alter the product and leave it unrecognizable.
I just do not like what is happening with football trying to take violence out of the game. Outlaw direct head shots, for sure.
But the league has also gone a little headshot crazy. They think any hit above the top of the jersey numbers is helmet-to-helmet news flash it's not! Kind of how like some cops think any black dude with a hoodie on is resisting arrest.
The kickoff is one of the most important and exciting plays in the game. Much like how offensive line play usually goes overlooked, even more so does good special teams play, especially blocking on special teams. There are obviously the stud guys we grew up watching, return aces like Dante Hall, Devin Hester and Josh Cribbs who could make something out of nothing. But more times than not, there is a huge block or hit on a kickoff setting the returner free. Now idk how possible that will be with those outlaw of double-teams and blocking limitations.There is nothing like a great return. In today's game they are extra rare, but when they happen they are special, they can be the highlight of a game. Dan Connolly's near touchdown return against the Packers on SNF is an all time fat guy NFL moment. It's the only play I can remember from that game. I know that return happened, and that Aaron Rodgers was hurt so Matt Flynn started and played well. In addition to his week 17 game in 2011 this game helped him fleece the Seahawks.
How is that going to be possible now with the new rules? :(
Players know the health risks now. They know what they're getting into. Sure, in 1964 it was bad. Dudes would get 6 concussions in a month and not miss a down, then work in a battery factory in the summer. They didn't know any better about the head trauma. Now I think we can all agree that we know a lot more about the lasting impacts this game can have than we did even 5 years ago. Leaps have been made in the last decade. But the league needs to realize that injuries in football are a little thing called an occupational hazard. They will always happen. If you want to earn millions to play a game you need to understand you could turn into a vegetable at any moment. It's the risk you take. Soldiers and cops know they can get shot. If you sign up to be a firefighter you know there's a chance you could end up looking like Digiorno that someone left in the oven too long because they were high and passed out for 3 hours.
While to some the changes might not seem like that big of a deal. To me it just seems like the beginning of the end of the kickoff in football. I think that would be a horrible thing to happen. It would totally alter the end of games. Without the potential for an onside kick coming back from multiple scores late would be nearly impossible. Plus it eliminates jobs which I don't like. If special teams get diminished their will be less of a need to keep certain guys on rosters and as a union man myself I cannot support anything that takes away work from my brothers.
Regarding the National Anthem changes.
I completely understand where (especially black ) players are coming from in wanting social change. I'm all for that, and support it. I think we all should want change. I think this country does have a huge police brutality issue, especially against minorities. And I mean, it's just a straight fact that racism as a whole still exists in the country, so I completely understand wanting to use a high profile platform to try to make a change. I think players should use their platform for good. Look at what J.J. Watt did for Houston after the Hurricane.
At the same time I'm also a respect the flag guy so I've always been more anti-kneeling. I've always said that I understand what guys are trying to accomplish, but just wish their was another way to protest. IMO not standing (undistracted) for the anthem is disrespectful af. Well before this whole Kaepernick shit 2 years ago I did and still do get pissed when men wear hats during the anthem. To me it's just a respecting the troops thing. You might not think that's what it's about but that's what it's about to me. Not just the troops but the country as a whole. Don't let a few crazy ass holes completely change your views on America. It's still a great fucking place to live. I know many players have said their protests have nothing to do with the troops, but it still to me and many other people it is just disrespectful. It's how I was raised, it's ingrained in me I'm not gonna change that. So to me the kneeling thing is just wearing a hat on steroids. All people have different interpretation of the National Anthem but to me it's about supporting the troops who sacrifice to keep us safe. I know in theory you can separate the two but I have a hard time doing that.
Former NFL QB (barely) Danny Kanell had a great point about the outrage regarding the NFL's new National Anthem policy. Why do people care so much? (either side)