Here it is again. The anthem protest issue refuses to die. And if you are wondering why no one will let you simply immerse yourself in the updated odds for NFL games or whatever it is that consumes football enthusiasts, you can blame the anthem protests.
No one really expected the NFL to engage in the anthem debate. Certainly, no one thought the league would go so far as to discipline players who participated in the protest.
But the NFL felt the need to come out and assure any teams and players who didn’t want to be on the field during the playing of the national anthem that they wouldn’t be disciplined.
The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Seattle Seahawks already took advantage this opportunity, and so did the Tennessee Titans. Of course, if you know the rules of the NFL, you know that the protests are illegal.
The NFL manual clearly mandates players to be on the sidelines by the time the National Anthem begins playing. The NFL’s laws empower them to slap fines and even suspend players who fail to act as expected when the National Anthem starts playing.
The fact that the NFL is waiving disciplinary measures in this situation is the result of comments President Trump made at a rally on Friday. While speaking to his supporters in Alabama, Trump took a hardline against football athletes who, in his view, disrespected the National Anthem.
He then urged team owners to fire any players who refused to stand for the national anthem. The NFL wasn’t amused by the suggestion and they fired back by empowering their players to act as they wished when it came to protesting the state of things in the United States, at least with regards to the playing of the National Anthem before NFL games.
Lockhart, an NFL executive, commended the league as a whole. He suggested that Trump’s actions had proven that players, owners, and NFL officials had the capacity to stand united in light of unexpected challenges.
Lockhard has some political experience having worked in the Clinton White House as press secretary. He hit back against the excuses Trump made when an audio recording of him using vulgar terms to refer to his treatment of women was released in 2016.
Lockhart said that nothing about Trump’s comments could be described as locker room talk and he urged the NFL to stand as a united force. This isn’t the first time the President has elicited hostile reactions from the NFL.
The President isn’t too fond of the penalties handed out of illegal hits. He thinks they ruin the game. Lockhart, naturally, took offense with Trump’s interpretation of the game. But he didn’t go so far as to attack the president.
It is worth noting that the NFL and the White House are not in direct contact, and the responses of the NFL and its players have largely been as a reaction to comments President Trump has been heard saying.
It has been suggested that the NFL might eventually do away with the playing of the National Anthem, but Lockhart isn’t convinced.
Colin Kaepernick, the man at the center of this storm, is still out of work.