The National Football League (NFL) bowed to President Donald Trump and announced players could be subjected to a fine if they continue to kneel in silent protest during the national anthem, and there could be consequences if they refuse to stand.
The decision comes after Trump previously suggested kneeling NFL players should be fired and now the league’s move looks nothing but a move to make the president happy.
The Trump administration is seeing the fine as a “victory for Trump.”
Vice President Mike Pence tweeted “#Winning” along with a screenshot of a CNN story that called the new policy “a stunning victory for President Trump.”
Donald Trump Jr. also tweeted and expressed his joy over the decision, “STILL NOT SICK OF #WINNING!!!!”
As the Trump camp was busy celebrating their so-called “victory,” Colin Kaepernick's attorney Mark Geragos tweeted a case law.
BREAKING NEWS: In response to Trump, Pence, and Trump Jr. publicly claiming victory in the NFL decision, Colin Kaepernick's attorney, @markgeragos has just tweeted this case law.— TAP ALERTS (@TAPAlerts) May 24, 2018
Another crime committed by Donald Trump and Co. pic.twitter.com/hjvRUBRnjc
Trump and Pence are both elected officials and the NFL is a private entity. The president influenced the league’s decision with his suggestion of firing protesting players and now Pence is also celebrating the decision of a private league.
The case law tweeted by Geragos states “wrongfully influencing a private entity’s employment decision by a Member of Congress shall be fined under this title.” The law also states that the person holding any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States may be disqualified.”
This essentially means what Trump and Pence have done is illegal.
The league’s decision faced widespread criticism.
“What NFL owners did today was thwart the players’ constitutional rights to express themselves and use our platform to draw attention to social injustices like racial inequality in our country. Everyone loses when voices get stifled,” said Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins.
Former basketball player Steve Kerr said, “It’s just typical of the NFL. They’re just playing to their fanbase and they’re just basically trying to use the anthem as fake patriotism, nationalism, scaring people. It’s idiotic, but that’s how the NFL has handled their business.”
Now, the NFL can argue that their decision falls under the law.
NFL is a private entity and a landmark 1943 Supreme Court case ruled public institutions can’t force or punish people to stand for the anthem as it hinders the right to free expression.
This also means that football players on the field don’t have First Amendment rights and players can be fined if they choose to kneel.
However, the NFL is using constitutional loopholes to silence freedom of speech.
Now, Trump made the protests all about the national anthem and disrespecting the flag.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b**** off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’ ” the president earlier said.
But the protest has never been about patriotism.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the protests in 2016. The idea behind the protest was to draw attention to police brutality, social injustice and racial inequity.
The protest was a move to demand equal treatment to all and to be a voice to thousands of people who experience social injustice just because of the color of their skin.
With the fine, not only will the players lose their right to exercise freedom of speech but also the voice of thousands of people who are victims of racial inequality will be silenced.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters via Brad Mills-USA TODAY