The NFL is broken.
The National Football League was once the model sports organization in the United States. Under Commissioner Pete Rozelle in the 1960s and 1970s, it was run with precision. That started to unravel under Rozelle in the 1980s with two labor actions which shut down the industry for a while and the United States Football League’s antitrust lawsuit against the NFL which the USFL both won and lost. The league’s latest fiasco is a half-baked solution for players kneeling during the national anthem and brings up the question, just whom is the league trying to placate with the stand at attention during the playing of the anthem but if you are not present then we are going to find your team mandate. The rule was implemented without a collective bargaining talk session with the players.
The new NFL ruling coincides with the Colin Kaepernick’s collusion grievance matter which is being heard. The players who have been protesting by taking a knee or holding hands or raising fists are not going to stop their actions. Those players were protesting social conditions. Christopher Johnson who is running the New York Jets while his brother Woody Johnson is serving in the Trump administration as Ambassador to England, plans to pay whatever fines the NFL deems fit for Jets players protesting. It is too early to tell if this new NFL rule will help sagging TV ratings or aid them with fans who were turned off by the protests. But this new rule is not going to help with those who follow the league and are constitution fans who believe in freedom of speech or expression. Except the NFL as an employer as the right to shut down that freedom as part of working conditions. The simple solution would have been everyone stayed in the locker room while the anthem is played. That happened in Rozelle’s NFL of the 1960s and 70s.
The NFL cannot solve the anthem problem.