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Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers

Source: Michael Zagaris / Getty

A new national anthem policy was approved by the NFL on Wednesday that’s definitely putting “freedom of speech” up for question.

According to the policy, individual teams will have the power to set their own rules when it comes to standing for the national anthem. However, if players decide not to stand, the team as a whole is subject to fines from the NFL. Players will be allowed to remain in the locker room if they don’t want to stand or if they don’t want to come out for the anthem in general.

“This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote in a statement. “Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room until after the Anthem has been performed.”

Despite players’ option to stay in the locker room, isn’t this another form of censorship?

 

The whole point of protesting is to be visual.

Athletes kneeling came about to protest unjust issues such as police brutality. If we can’t see which players are physically kneeling, the power of freedom of speech is overshadowed by patriotic gestures.

 

You mad Black people are getting killed by the police?

That’s fine, still stand for this flag.

You want racial profiling to go away?

That’s fine, still stand for this flag.

Mere lyrics and gestures — that weren’t really meant for Black people in the first place — become more important than issues that impact American lives.

The NFL Commissioner continued, “We believe today’s decision will keep our focus on the game and the extraordinary athletes who play it—and on our fans who enjoy it.”

In other words, shut up and play football Black people!

 

Individual teams shouldn’t be trusted to make national anthem rules either. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones already said last season that he would bench any Cowboys player who didn’t stand for the anthem. Houston Texans owner Robert McNair also said that the NFL fields aren’t meant for “political statements.” How will people like this carry out their “rules” if a player decides to stay in the locker room during the national anthem?

The new policies are set to go into effect this upcoming season.

So it seems once again, patriotism will shine in the light, while human issues — especially Black issues — will remain in the locker room.

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