The NFL tried to cajole players to cease their endless anti-American protests during the playing of the national anthem by releasing a statement this morning saying players should stand during the song. But not even a day went by before the league was seen backing away from the statement after a player warned the NFL that a new “uproar” would result if players were forced to stand in respect for America.
According to ESPN, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive lineman Gerald McCoy threatened the league if Commissioner Goodell made the players stand for the anthem.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive lineman Gerald McCoy, speaking on Adam Schefter’s Know Them From Adam podcast, said he thinks there might “be an uproar” if NFL players are forced to stand for the national anthem.
“I don’t think guys are gonna like it,” McCoy said, when asked about the possible reaction from players. “I think it’s gonna be an uproar if that is to happen because you’re basically taking away a constitutional right to freedom of speech. If guys wanna have a, I guess you would call it a peaceful protest, I don’t think it’s right to take that away.”
McCoy’s threat comes on the heels of a statement issued Wednesday morning by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell who in a four-page letter urged players to put an end to the protests and stand for the anthem.
As ESPN reported the letter:
In the letter, Goodell said he wanted to end the controversy by agreeing on a uniform approach for all teams.
“Like many of our fans,” Goodell wrote, “we believe that everyone should stand for the national anthem. It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us.
“We also care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues. The controversy over the Anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues. We need to move past this controversy, and we want to do that together with our players.”
The NFL’s current anthem policy states that players “should” stand for the anthem, but it stops short of requiring it.
The proposed new policy is the result of “many of discussions with clubs and players,” Goodell added.
As soon as the letter emerged, President Donald Trump jumped to his Twitter account to praise Goodell for the new policy position.
It is about time that Roger Goodell of the NFL is finally demanding that all players STAND for our great National Anthem-RESPECT OUR COUNTRY
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 11, 2017
But now, despite the letter from Commissioner Goodell, the league is not backing off and claiming that reports that the league is asking players to stand is untrue. According to the Chicago Sun-Times the league is asserting that reports that the league wants players to stand are wrong.
“Commentary this morning about the Commissioner’s position on the Anthem is not accurate,” said the NFL statement, which was released to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “As we said yesterday, there will be a discussion of these issues at the owners meeting next week. The NFL is doing the hard work of trying to move from protest to progress, working to bring people together. Commissioner Goodell spent yesterday with Miami Dolphins players, law enforcement and community leaders witnessing first-hand the outstanding work our players and clubs are doing to strengthen their communities. Players from around the league will be in New York next week to meet with owners to continue our work together.”
The controversy over the NFL’s anti-American protests grew worse this week after the league and social justice warriors reacted to the comments by Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones who essentially said that if his players don’t stand for the anthem from now on they risk being benched.
Last Sunday, after game time, Jones said, “If there’s anything that is disrespectful to the flag, then we will not play. OK? Understand? If we are disrespecting the flag, then we won’t play. Period. Period.”
But almost immediately, the billionaire NFL owner was criticized by both the players union and the NAACP.
The National Football League Players Association issued a statement insisting that the anthem protests are “respectful” and “conscientious” and that it would not stand for its members’ rights being violated.
The NAACP also slammed Jones saying that if he tried to make his players stand he would be violating their civil rights.
By Wednesday, the criticism had bled outside the League and civil rights groups when rapper Common accused Jones of being a “slave owner.”
Meanwhile, the NFL is losing millions of fans who are sick to death of the constant protests during the anthem. The ball is in your court, Mr. Goodell. Are you going to make the fans happy or continue coddling your players?
H/T Allen B. West