It has finally happened. The NFL has lost its mind, and it’s taking patriotism with it.
For those of you unaware of what’s happening, the NFL recently came out with a new list of rule changes. Some of these are for the betterment of the game and safety of the players. For example:
They eliminated running starts for kickoff coverage teams, the that eight of the 11 men on the return team must be aligned in the “setup zone” within 15 yards of the ball. Also, there will be no blocking within the “setup zone” until after the ball touches the ground if it is not first caught. They eliminated two-man wedge blocks, and the kickoff team must have five men lined up on either side of the ball, a move that will limit schemes designed to get free runners in coverage down the field.
You know, things like that. Important things. Not First Amendment things. But no, the NFL didn’t just stop at player safety and game rules, they made a policy change to their national anthem procedure.
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According to the Washington Post, “NFL owners approved a new national anthem policy Wednesday that gives individual teams the authority to set their own anthem-related rules and permits players to remain in the locker room during the playing of the anthem, according to a person familiar with the deliberations.
The new policy eliminates the current requirement from the league’s game operations manual for a player to be on the field for the playing of the anthem, allowing a player to remain in the locker room. Teams would then have the ability to set their own policy for players who choose to take the field for the anthem, including the ability to discipline a player for any protest during the national anthem.
Teams would not have the ability to force players to take the field for the anthem, however.
The new policy also is expected to contain a clause that the league could fine a team for any protest by a player on the sideline during the anthem, according to a person familiar with the owners’ deliberations. Any team that wants to allow players to protest would have to be willing to pay a potential fine by the league.”
You must be joking.
The NFL has lost its mind.
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Before we get into the results of this week’s NFL Sleeper Cell League, We, the writers at The Turf, would like to address the peaceful protests that have been taking place during the National Anthem both this weekend and throughout last season. We here at The Turf support any Americans right to free speech, as well as, the American right to peacefully affect social change and raise awareness in a manner that they feel is most impactful. The Turf is made up of a group of writers who exercise their right to free speech on a daily basis, so to look down on others who are doing the same would be hypocritical. If raising your voice for something you believe in is un-American, then we’ve lost what has made this country so great. We here at The Turf stand with the players of the NFL, and we do it proudly.
However, while we applaud the NFL owners and teams for standing in unity and solidarity with each other against the president’s ad hominem attack on private citizens, we also hope the NFL owners can look past the perceived questions of patriotism and disrespect to the flag, and start standing in solidarity with the reasons Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid kneeled in the first place. A great op-ed by Reid can be found here.
Out of love for our country and in honor of the sacrifices made on our behalf, we unite to oppose those that would deny our most basic freedoms. We remain committed to continuing to work towards equality and justice for all.
The Turf Team
We still stand by that, and we continue to stand with the players of the NFL who chose to raise their voices and drop to their knees to peacefully protest the wrong and evil in this world. We continue to fight for our countrymen and their right to free speech and their right to love their country and profess their ideology in their own manner. We have your backs.
– Justin Colombo
Head Writer/Editor-In-Chief, The Turf