NFL Weighing Changing Anthem Rules After Bowing Down To Trump

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“Everyone at this point is frustrated by the situation. The commissioner and the owners do want the players to stand. We think it is an important part of the game.”

New York Jets

Looks like President Donald Trump’s feud with the National Football League isn’t ending anytime soon. In his latest move, he suggested using tax laws to penalize the league for players who kneel in protest of racial injustice.

Hours after Trump’s “threat,” it emerged the NFL is considering how to approach anthem rules. 

“Everyone at this point is frustrated by the situation. The commissioner and the owners do want the players to stand. We think it is an important part of the game,” said Joe Lockhart, NFL chief spokesman.

The NFL is the world’s top-grossing sports league and it gave up its tax-free status two years ago. Even before giving up the status, only a small portion of the league was exempted from taxes. On the other hand, individual teams paid federal taxes on all revenues.

The league, however, does receive massive tax breaks to build stadiums.

Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL, also penned a letter to all 32 team executives stating they needed “to move past this controversy.” He also added that a plan regarding the issue will be addressed at the meeting New York which is due to take place on Oct. 17-18.

In the letter, he praised players and owners “who have done the hard work over the past year to listen, understand and attempt to address the underlying issues within their communities.”

However, Goodell didn’t mention what plan is to address this controversial issue. 

 

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who knelt with players just two weeks ago with his team, backtracked on his stance and said if any of his players chose to demonstrate during the anthem, they would be benched.

“If you do not honor and stand for the flag in the way that a lot of our fans feel that you should ... if that’s not the case, then you won’t play,” said Jones.

He further added, “That’s nothing new as far as that being my wish or the way I want the Cowboys. As far as whether or not I will basically institute or do what I said I would just say. ... I would ask anybody to look at my record relative to what I say I’m going to do.”

The White House also supported the idea of forcing players to stand during the pre-game anthem.

“We are glad to see the NFL taking positive steps in that direction,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

While explaining what Trump’s tax-breaks tweet was directed toward, she said, “The federal tax law doesn’t apply here, but certainly we know that they receive tax subsidies on a variety of different levels.”

In response to the latest move, the NFL Players Association said, “We do not have a response at this time.”

Colin Kaepernick, who was part of San Francisco 49ers, gave birth to the idea of kneeling down in protest of racial profiling and police brutality. The protest took a form of a movement after Trump urged team owners to fire players who choose to kneel.

Since then, scores of people have supported the movement and have come forward against racism.       

The league has been controversial in many ways. In 2014, Goodell faced mounting calls for his resignation after he dealt with domestic abuse cases in the league leniently.

And now the league is mulling how to handle players who peacefully stage protests against a problem that is claiming innocent lives in our country.

Racial profiling that leads to police brutality is a problem that infecting our society, and a league that has a massive following and popularity is planning to prohibit players from making people aware of the problem is downright condemnable.

Thumbnail Credits: Reuters, Yuri Gripas

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