The NFL and the National Anthem

Reverend

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Ignoring the incorrect legal assertion, the problem here is not a general issue of a business enforcing established behavioral norms. The NFL did not have a policy against political protest. They did not have a policy about standing for the national anthem. Protests began targeting a specific cause, which was police brutality and state violence against innocent black civilians. The NFL has, in response, enacted a targeted policy to stifle that expression, and more or less only that expression.

Falling back on their right to dictate workplace norms is a craven unwillingness to recognize what they are doing. What they are doing is targeting black player speech and deliberately silencing it because white members of their audience are offended that black people don't want to be killed by the police anymore.

Intent matters. This rule has a clear intent. That intent is unmistakably and unquestionably racist. If you are ok supporting a league that has declared that they are operating under the flag of racism, that is ok. It doesn't make you racist. It does mean that you have decided that your personal entertainment matters more than opposing the virulent disease that is racism in this country.
I read your first post on the new policy before I had had a chance to process it. I haven't seen anything to dispute any of it, or what you have posted since. And that's on top of stuff I thought about in terms of forced expressions of piety that go back to Locke and are the foundations of our way of life.

I think I'm out. We'll see what happens when season comes around... but this is bad. Like, actual bad.
 

dbn

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I want to share some thoughts on this issue, both general and specific.

You can't force patriotism. Indeed, "forced patriotism" is an oxymoron. The closest word or term I can think of that is a real thing is a loaded one: fascism. I think that fascism is close to the mark in describing what's going on with the anthem issue in the NFL, but not quite on the mark because I believe the players that making a statement about discriminatory police violence are *absolutely* being patriotic. What the league is doing is requiring them to act in way that is constrained to the league's view of patriotism.

I've been to a lot of professional sporting events in my lifetime and for every single one of them I've stood, removed my hat if I was wearing one, and respectfully gazed at the flag during the anthem. I will continue to do so, because that is one of the ways *I* want to show my appreciation of the *good* in this country. However, it would be idiotic to not accept that there is also bad in this country -- institutionalized bad, in fact. If some people want to make a peaceful, respectful gesture in order to protest against the institutionalized bad while neither harming nor even inconveniencing anyone else, then I support them. That's American. That's patriotic. That's part of the very "good" that I stand to salute when the anthem is played.

One last thought. When I stand for the anthem, if someone near me keeps talking, or goofing off, etc., I'm annoyed and think less of that person. That said, if that team/league demanded that such persons be ejected for not standing, I'd boycott that team/league in a heartbeat. I know this is a false-equivelncy because one is a paying customer and the player is a paid employee, but I think there is some merit to the comparison.

If you don't force me to pray to your God and I don't force you to stand for our flag, we'll likely get along fine.
 

InstaFace

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One last thought. When I stand for the anthem, if someone near me keeps talking, or goofing off, etc., I'm annoyed and think less of that person. That said, if that team/league demanded that such persons be ejected for not standing, I'd boycott that team/league in a heartbeat. I know this is a false-equivelncy because one is a paying customer and the player is a paid employee, but I think there is some merit to the comparison.
Yankee Stadium ejects attendees who don't stand, remove their hats, or remain quiet for the star-spangled banner OR god bless america. I've seen it done, though usually it's a talking-to from security.
 

LondonSox

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It pains me greatly that the eagles are great just as I find it harder and harder to support the sport and league.
I won't be doing Sunday ticket this year, I just can't.

I will be very interested to see how the eagles act. They are Superbowl champs, have one of the most supportive owners in this area and are led by outspoken class acts like Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Long and now of course Bennett too.

They will have a big platform, what will they do?
 

dbn

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Yankee Stadium ejects attendees who don't stand, remove their hats, or remain quiet for the star-spangled banner OR god bless america. I've seen it done, though usually it's a talking-to from security.
I think that is awful. I can kind of see getting a warning for not remaining quiet as you are then disturbing other people during what they (and I) consider a solemn moment, but, man, not removing your hat? This is supposed to be a free country.
 

Reverend

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I think that is awful. I can kind of see getting a warning for not remaining quiet as you are then disturbing other people during what they (and I) consider a solemn moment, but, man, not removing your hat? This is supposed to be a free country.
I have literally never been to Yankee Stadium without witnessing an OVERT and LOUD incident that had sexist and/or racist tone.

My favorite was watching a bunch of huge shirtless Dominicans shout down a "borderline" racist shit-talker who thought he was safe as a Yankee fan but didn't realize who filled the stands when Pedro pitched there.
 

Dotrat

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The more I think about it, galvanized by this thread, the more I’m convinced I’m out. JakeRae stated it very well—I simply won’t be a party to a bunch of old white men, especially the bigots among them, capitulating to a PR savvy moron of a president and the deluded racist idiots who follow him.
 

Moviegoer

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BREAKING: Several star @NFL players have told me they are considering sitting out the season until the de facto ban of Eric Reid and Colin Kaepernick is removed and both men are given spots back on rosters. They aim to get 25% of the players to sit out with them.
 

glasspusher

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Any of you folks saying "you're out" going to make the reason for your decision known to the NFL when you do it, like calling up to cancel a TV package? Might have the best effect.
 

glasspusher

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I have literally never been to Yankee Stadium without witnessing an OVERT and LOUD incident that had sexist and/or racist tone.

My favorite was watching a bunch of huge shirtless Dominicans shout down a "borderline" racist shit-talker who thought he was safe as a Yankee fan but didn't realize who filled the stands when Pedro pitched there.
I've seen plenty of trash talk in the toilet (guess which visiting team was usually playing when I was there!), and this goes back to 1978, but I can't say I've seen racist shit. Haven't been there since the early 80s, though.
 

edmunddantes

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People keep saying “employees”, but I believe there is some limit.

I find it hard to believe an employer can compel political speech of employees, and this is what they are doing especially if it’s something that is not integral to the duties of your job.
 

OurF'ingCity

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People keep saying “employees”, but I believe there is some limit.

I find it hard to believe an employer can compel political speech of employees, and this is what they are doing especially if it’s something that is not integral to the duties of your job.
I think this is why they have the option to stay in the locker room - the NFL can argue that giving them that option means a player does not "have" to stand at attention and respect the flag during the anthem. I think there's a valid argument that that's not a real choice, but it does make the argument tougher.
 

trs

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I think this is why they have the option to stay in the locker room - the NFL can argue that giving them that option means a player does not "have" to stand at attention and respect the flag during the anthem. I think there's a valid argument that that's not a real choice, but it does make the argument tougher.
Agreed. However, I wonder if you can portray it as mandated politically-oriented speech. I suppose choosing to stay in the locker room could be construed as speech, but then I suppose we would have to allow super patriotic locker room attendants to run out onto the sidelines and stand so that their presence in the locker room during the anthem isn't misinterpreted. In any case, I do think that only presenting the options of "speech that adheres to our political guidelines" or "don't say shit" isn't really a choice. Let's not forget that freedom of speech is an enumerated right and while I realize that the Bill of Rights relates to congressional laws and by extension of the 14th to state laws as well, as others have mentioned, given the anti-trust exemptions that the NFL has enjoyed, you could make a strong case that the NFL is receiving money from the state and therefore must comply with a stricter scrutiny in terms of protecting rights. Also, given how much money the military pays for these shows, I wonder if the NFL, ironically, has to guarantee certain constitutional rights in order to be eligible for federal funds. Or I'm (more likely) a total fool who's obviously not a lawyer. I just wonder what rights these players have to avoid being put in a situation where they have either to step in line or shut up.
 

Eddie Jurak

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People keep saying “employees”, but I believe there is some limit.

I find it hard to believe an employer can compel political speech of employees, and this is what they are doing especially if it’s something that is not integral to the duties of your job.
I think this is why the NFL is out of line here. The NFL can tell its employees when they can and cannot be on the sidelines, what color shoes they can wear, whether or not the can make obscene gestures at the crowd, etc. But they cannot mandate political speech such as standing for the anthem.
 

maufman

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Why is everyone so sure that the NFL can’t compel its players to participate in a political demonstration?

Not saying it’s right, but the legality of what the NFL is doing probably turns on whether they had a duty to bargain with the NFLPA, not some sort of free expression argument. (And given the lack of screaming from DeMaurice Smith, I suspect the league has the union angle covered.)
 

maufman

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Are there other examples where compelling one's employees to make certain political statements is allowed?

An employer might need to accommodate a request not to stand for the National Anthem or the Pledge of Allegiance because of a sincerely held religious belief (e.g., Jehovah’s Witnesses do not stand for the Anthem or the Pledge, iirc), but I’m aware of no law would require an employer to make an exception for someone who simply preferred not to stand for political reasons.

This article is an interesting overview of politics in the workplace from a few years ago. It mainly discusses politics of a more partisan nature, rather than political speech in a broader sense. The key takeaway is that employees’ rights vary by state, and are generally quite limited, at least for non-union workers.

http://prospect.org/article/employer-political-coercion-growing-threat

I should mention that this cuts both ways — I don’t think many of us were upset when Google fired that prick who circulated a memo arguing that men were genetically inferior to women, even though that was clearly constitutionally protected free speech.
 

Dotrat

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Any of you folks saying "you're out" going to make the reason for your decision known to the NFL when you do it, like calling up to cancel a TV package? Might have the best effect.
I let the Pats know and when I cancel the Sunday Ticket I’ll be letting DirectTV know as well.
 

JohnnyK

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so the NFL has been retweeting seemingly every Memorial day Tweet made by a team or player regarding the ultimate sacrifice made today. Just let that sink in.
 

InstaFace

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Yes, although that's well settled in law I think. You can't be punished for refusing to recite the pledge. So while it is done every day, anyone can choose to sit, kneel, etc without punishment.
You also have nearly-compulsory attendance by non-paying "customers", rather than a collectively-bargained-for work environment for highly compensated employees.

Professional team sports are a really unusual workplace for a long list of reasons, a list that (for me) starts with (1) minor-leaguers being employed by the same organizations but treated like absolute dirt relative to their top-flight counterparts, (2) players' services being bought and sold like property between organizations whose workplaces might be 3000 miles apart, and (3) rookie contracts being appallingly low-paid relative to their true value. That's before you get into weight clauses, image and likeness rights, termination and severance (especially in the NFL), not to mention tacit encouragement for using performance-enhancing drugs. Being for the purpose of public entertainment, it's really more like an overgrown and snooty version of the circus than anything else, with all the oddities and ills we might associate with circus performers. It's really apples and oranges to just about anything else.
 

Reverend

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The "Pledge Allegiance Cases" are settled law. But they apply to public schools, which are government operations and don't apply here, I don't think.

That said, rights are a limited ethical discourse. Forced displays of piety degrade us all.

I still find much of Locke's argument to be dispositive of the issue. Like, what does a pledge mean if it's required on force of sanction? It means nothing, but worse than that, it's an abomination unto human dignity in the act of requiring it.
 

Boggs26

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Yes, public school is certainly an entirely different animal. I was simply replying to the prior post.

On the other hand, my understanding is that a requirement such as standing for the anthem would have to be known ahead of time either in the personnel contract or handbook unless it was necessary for the completion of the job.

Isn't this why there was no official punishment for Kaepernick? I'd also think it's now an issue for the union since it wasn't a known job requirement at the time of hire for current players.
 

SMU_Sox

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I let the Pats know and when I cancel the Sunday Ticket I’ll be letting DirectTV know as well.
I let the Patriots know that if this rule is in place by the start of the season I will not purchase the regular packages I do to let me see the Patriots play every Sunday in Dallas. This issue kept bothering me over the weekend.
 

Rough Carrigan

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Ignoring the incorrect legal assertion, the problem here is not a general issue of a business enforcing established behavioral norms. The NFL did not have a policy against political protest. They did not have a policy about standing for the national anthem. Protests began targeting a specific cause, which was police brutality and state violence against innocent black civilians. The NFL has, in response, enacted a targeted policy to stifle that expression, and more or less only that expression.

Falling back on their right to dictate workplace norms is a craven unwillingness to recognize what they are doing. What they are doing is targeting black player speech and deliberately silencing it because white members of their audience are offended that black people don't want to be killed by the police anymore.

Intent matters. This rule has a clear intent. That intent is unmistakably and unquestionably racist. If you are ok supporting a league that has declared that they are operating under the flag of racism, that is ok. It doesn't make you racist. It does mean that you have decided that your personal entertainment matters more than opposing the virulent disease that is racism in this country.
I'll see your virtue signalling race card and raise you a concern for the very nature of the sport. Given what we now know about CTE, concussions and the toll it takes on participants I didn't watch an entire game last year until the Super Bowl and didn't feel good about that. If you're okay supporting a league that has declared that they are operating under the flag of gladiatorial combat, that is okay. It doesn't mean you're an arrogant asshole. It does mean that you've decided that your personal entertainment matters more than the lives of poor people in this country.
 

dcmissle

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Why is everyone so sure that the NFL can’t compel its players to participate in a political demonstration?

Not saying it’s right, but the legality of what the NFL is doing probably turns on whether they had a duty to bargain with the NFLPA, not some sort of free expression argument. (And given the lack of screaming from DeMaurice Smith, I suspect the league has the union angle covered.)
Because people do not understand the state action requirement. There may be an argument based on collective bargaining obligations. There is no argument law based on First Amendment guarantees.

As noted elsewhere, there is poetic justice in the NBA requiring players to stand, without incident or protest, and the NFL going through this much agony with essentially the same rule. It has everything to do with the NBA being enlightened and supportive and treating people right. This has to be driving Goodell's gang of 32 crazy.
 

djbayko

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BREAKING: Several star @NFL players have told me they are considering sitting out the season until the de facto ban of Eric Reid and Colin Kaepernick is removed and both men are given spots back on rosters. They aim to get 25% of the players to sit out with them.
While I would be very proud of these individuals for making such a sacrifice, I will believe this is happening when I see it. The problem is that it won't fix anything. Each team is its own entity, making its own business decisions. How do you decide which teams have to bite the bullet and hire these guys even if they don't want to?
 

dcmissle

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While I would be very proud of these individuals for making such a sacrifice, I will believe this is happening when I see it. The problem is that it won't fix anything. Each team is its own entity, making its own business decisions. How do you decide which teams have to bite the bullet and hire these guys even if they don't want to?
Empty threat, and bass-ackwards even if it weren't. If they felt that strongly about the injustices to Kap and Reid, they would be boycotting OTAs right now. They could do it with impunity because OTAs are voluntary.
 

Reverend

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I'll see your virtue signalling race card and raise you a concern for the very nature of the sport. Given what we now know about CTE, concussions and the toll it takes on participants I didn't watch an entire game last year until the Super Bowl and didn't feel good about that. If you're okay supporting a league that has declared that they are operating under the flag of gladiatorial combat, that is okay. It doesn't mean you're an arrogant asshole. It does mean that you've decided that your personal entertainment matters more than the lives of poor people in this country.
You know, sometimes what some see as virtue signaling may also have real substance behind it.

MLK very intentionally engaged in virtue signaling. Because his work was virtuous.

Being mad that people are concerned with one valid grievance and not another seems... not productive.
 

JakeRae

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I'll see your virtue signalling race card and raise you a concern for the very nature of the sport. Given what we now know about CTE, concussions and the toll it takes on participants I didn't watch an entire game last year until the Super Bowl and didn't feel good about that. If you're okay supporting a league that has declared that they are operating under the flag of gladiatorial combat, that is okay. It doesn't mean you're an arrogant asshole. It does mean that you've decided that your personal entertainment matters more than the lives of poor people in this country.
I'm saddened that you'd rather engage in whataboutism and calls of virtue-signalling than engage with the substance of my post. My general understanding of our community is that we strive to be better than that.

Because of that, I'm going to mostly ignore those issues, and engage with the substance of your post. (Mostly, because I do think your not-so-clever attempt to mask an ad hominem attack in a tortured analogy bears calling out.) If you want to call me an arrogant asshole, do it directly next time.

Substantively, I'm a little confused. It seems like you think there is some sort of values-competition going on between us. There isn't. If you have mostly walked away from the league because of the CTE issue and the league's blatant disregard for player safety, that is great. I didn't, and I have to live with that choice. I did recognize that by not doing so I was valuing my own personal entertainment ahead of player safety. I have friends and family that considered that position to be morally repugnant, and they weren't wrong. I am not going to deny that my continuing to support the sport as it did nothing to address CTE was a morally problematic stance. I justified it to myself by creating excuses, i.e., that players are compensated for the risk they take on, but that excuse, and others, were really just designed to mollify my conscious. I applaud you for doing otherwise.

I do struggle to understand why, if you already have, as you claim, 1 and 3/4 feet out the door, you are defending the league so vociferously on this point. Why are you so committed to defending an organization you claim you've already basically walked away from because of a different set of moral concerns? That's a real question that I sincerely hope you will answer.

To cycle this back to my intentions, I was writing to try to make sure that people really confront the moral problem with respect to continued support for the league in the face of the kneeling rule. I'm not going to let stand the idea that this policy is something other than, at its most charitable, an appeasement of racism if not an outright endorsement of it. That fact needs to be confronted. What you do afterward is for you to decide, but don't hide from it. Pretending this policy isn't rooted in racism is akin to pretending playing football doesn't dramatically increase CTE risk. Both are ugly truths that we as fans would prefer to hide from, but we cannot let ourselves do so. We are better than that.
 

dbn

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JMHO, but that football can cause CTE isn't a reason to boycott the NFL. That the league hid this information is. I mean, five F1 drivers have died playing their sport this millennium. The difference is that those who pay their salaries didn't hide from them the fact that they might die and send them out their anyway.
 

EricFeczko

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JMHO, but that football can cause CTE isn't a reason to boycott the NFL. That the league hid this information is. I mean, five F1 drivers have died playing their sport this millennium. The difference is that those who pay their salaries didn't hide from them the fact that they might die and send them out their anyway.
To me. there's a common thread between this and JakeRae's post. NFL actions on both CTE and anthem protests have less to do with abstract policy and more how the NFL treats its employees (players) as less than human.

After thinking it through, I may be out too.
 

BigJimEd

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That many of the of the same people that are heavily criticizing the NFL's policy are also applauding the NBA is intriguing to me.

NBA policy is more restrictive but they've allowed their players to wear t-shirts protesting police behavior pre-game and talk about social issues in press conferences. Then again as was posted in this thread previously, the NFL also has had players wearing t-shirts and players have talked about social issues. Of course, the NFL has in general shown they care little about their employees.

Seems to me a lot of this based on feelings for Trump, Goodell and the NFL in general before this issue. This is another data point that shows what a poor job Goodell has done for the league. The NFL lacks leadership and has become reactionary. Was the vote unanimous? did some abstain? was there even a vote? They can't even get that straight never mind articulate a clear, concise and sincere message,

I don't agree that this is all about racism and this policy makes NFL owners and anyone that follows the league racist. Is the NBA racist? I think a person can agree with the protester even if they disagree with the form of protest.
IMO, for most of the league owners this is about money. If this policy seems to be losing them money they will take another look.

I think for many fans this became a much more emotional and heated debate once President Trump became involved. Seems like as with many issues, once he takes a side, many others on both sides become close minded and resort to name calling.
 

Rough Carrigan

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I'm saddened that you'd rather engage in whataboutism and calls of virtue-signalling than engage with the substance of my post. My general understanding of our community is that we strive to be better than that.

Because of that, I'm going to mostly ignore those issues, and engage with the substance of your post. (Mostly, because I do think your not-so-clever attempt to mask an ad hominem attack in a tortured analogy bears calling out.) If you want to call me an arrogant asshole, do it directly next time.

Substantively, I'm a little confused. It seems like you think there is some sort of values-competition going on between us. There isn't. If you have mostly walked away from the league because of the CTE issue and the league's blatant disregard for player safety, that is great. I didn't, and I have to live with that choice. I did recognize that by not doing so I was valuing my own personal entertainment ahead of player safety. I have friends and family that considered that position to be morally repugnant, and they weren't wrong. I am not going to deny that my continuing to support the sport as it did nothing to address CTE was a morally problematic stance. I justified it to myself by creating excuses, i.e., that players are compensated for the risk they take on, but that excuse, and others, were really just designed to mollify my conscious. I applaud you for doing otherwise.

I do struggle to understand why, if you already have, as you claim, 1 and 3/4 feet out the door, you are defending the league so vociferously on this point. Why are you so committed to defending an organization you claim you've already basically walked away from because of a different set of moral concerns? That's a real question that I sincerely hope you will answer.

To cycle this back to my intentions, I was writing to try to make sure that people really confront the moral problem with respect to continued support for the league in the face of the kneeling rule. I'm not going to let stand the idea that this policy is something other than, at its most charitable, an appeasement of racism if not an outright endorsement of it. That fact needs to be confronted. What you do afterward is for you to decide, but don't hide from it. Pretending this policy isn't rooted in racism is akin to pretending playing football doesn't dramatically increase CTE risk. Both are ugly truths that we as fans would prefer to hide from, but we cannot let ourselves do so. We are better than that.
I'm just so sick of virtue signaling that when you have a pack of entitled assholes who treat everyone like shit like the NFL owners that jumping for the race explanation is a bit lazy and annoying. I'm not defending the league. I'm saying the nfl players did a poor job of protesting. That's not the same thing at all.
 

InstaFace

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Sep 27, 2016
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That many of the of the same people that are heavily criticizing the NFL's policy are also applauding the NBA is intriguing to me.

NBA policy is more restrictive but they've allowed their players to wear t-shirts protesting police behavior pre-game and talk about social issues in press conferences. Then again as was posted in this thread previously, the NFL also has had players wearing t-shirts and players have talked about social issues. Of course, the NFL has in general shown they care little about their employees.
Keep in mind that the NBA's tone, and the recent history of their actions, show a much stronger alliance with NBA players expressing themselves as people than the NFL's approach of trying to remove individual identity and have players (other than stars) be interchangeable automatons.

For example, Silver:
S+B: It also seems that the NBA has a less contentious relationship with players and encourages them to be engaged in social media in a way that other sports might not.

SILVER:
In this league we recognize that the players are the stars, and we treat them as our partners. The fact that the league has their backs when they put themselves out there doesn’t necessarily mean we agree with everything they say. But we want them to know that political speech is protected in this league.

Twenty-five percent of our league is made up of players born outside the United States and who often come from countries where free speech is not permitted. It’s especially important that those players understand that when they play in the NBA, they get all rights afforded to U.S. citizens. It’s become part of our brand, in essence, that there is an expectation for our fans, even some who don’t agree with a particular point of view of a player, that this is a platform in which players should feel comfortable expressing themselves.
Silver has also said he was "proud" of LeBron James and Kevin Durant for speaking up on social issues, when speaking of the Laura Ingraham "shut up and dribble" kerfuffle.

As The Atlantic points out, Silver also moved decisively to ban and force a sale with Donald Sterling in 2014 as one of his first acts in office; he's also personally participated in a gay pride parade, and moved an all-star game to protest North Carolina's "bathroom bill". Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich and other non-player league figures (who you'd expect to be even more tightly controlled, since they're not really 'the product') are extremely vocal about their thoughts on injustices or the political drama of the day.

In the Silver era, the NBA has truly become an ally of players being role models with strong opinions, and has moved on from "Republicans buy sneakers too". Part of this, in chicken-and-egg fashion, is that the NBA is also the most liberal sport by political split of their fanbase. A recent post-Kaepernick survey noted that 66% of NBA TV viewership are minorities, whereas 91% of NASCAR's is white. And let's remember this chart:


Howard Cosell may have said that sports and politics don't mix, but culture war is upon them, whether they would risk it or not (sorry). So whether we give the NBA credit or not, or choose to criticize the NFL over this, we do need to recognize that they're serving very different groups of people.
 

JakeRae

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I'm just so sick of virtue signaling that when you have a pack of entitled assholes who treat everyone like shit like the NFL owners that jumping for the race explanation is a bit lazy and annoying. I'm not defending the league. I'm saying the nfl players did a poor job of protesting. That's not the same thing at all.
Here's an article from August, 2016 with Kaepernick explaining what he is protesting.

https://www.sbnation.com/2016/8/28/12684014/colin-kaepernick-will-continue-protest-national-anthem

"I'll continue to sit," Kaepernick told the media following Sunday’s practice. "I'm going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed. To me, this is something that has to change. When there's significant change and I feel that flag represents what it's supposed to represent, and this country is representing people the way that it's supposed to, I'll stand."

Specifically, Kaepernick feels that issues like police brutality, and oppression of people of color, are issues that aren’t being dealt with properly in this country. For him, this is about using his voice to help those who don’t have the kind of reach he has as a professional athlete.

"This stand wasn’t for me," Kaepernick said. "This is because I’m seeing things happen to people that don’t have a voice, people that don’t have a platform to talk and have their voices heard, and effect change. So I’m in the position where I can do that and I’m going to do that for people that can’t."
 

joe dokes

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Jul 18, 2005
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That many of the of the same people that are heavily criticizing the NFL's policy are also applauding the NBA is intriguing to me.

NBA policy is more restrictive but they've allowed their players to wear t-shirts protesting police behavior pre-game and talk about social issues in press conferences. Then again as was posted in this thread previously, the NFL also has had players wearing t-shirts and players have talked about social issues. Of course, the NFL has in general shown they care little about their employees.

Seems to me a lot of this based on feelings for Trump, Goodell and the NFL in general before this issue. This is another data point that shows what a poor job Goodell has done for the league. The NFL lacks leadership and has become reactionary. Was the vote unanimous? did some abstain? was there even a vote? They can't even get that straight never mind articulate a clear, concise and sincere message,

I don't agree that this is all about racism and this policy makes NFL owners and anyone that follows the league racist. Is the NBA racist? I think a person can agree with the protester even if they disagree with the form of protest.
IMO, for most of the league owners this is about money. If this policy seems to be losing them money they will take another look.

I think for many fans this became a much more emotional and heated debate once President Trump became involved. Seems like as with many issues, once he takes a side, many others on both sides become close minded and resort to name calling.
Its not about t-shirts & talking.

For one thing, it was Trump who called NFL players sons of bitches and said they should leave the country. And it was the Vice President who made an orchestrated, child-like temper tantrum exit from a game. Trump put the full weight of the Presidency behind this, so, yeah, feelings about him got involved.

But bigger picture is that the NBA's position is "we want you to stand for the anthem, and here's a long list of ways that show that you can trust the league and owners to have your back with regard to virtually any other form of protest or advocacy you would like to engage in."

The NFL's position is not that. It's Bob McNair. Its Thursday night football. It's the worry that the people who think the league stands for "Niggers for Life"* will stop watching.

*https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/11/08/donald-trump-johnstown-pennsylvania-supporters-215800
 

Bergs

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Jul 22, 2005
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I'm just so sick of virtue signaling that when you have a pack of entitled assholes who treat everyone like shit like the NFL owners that jumping for the race explanation is a bit lazy and annoying.
The NFL is knee-jerk reacting to right-wing outrage that would simply not exist were the players white. They know this, and instead of standing up for the rights of their players, they are bowing down to racists. This really isn't a matter of opinion.

I'm not defending the league.
Yes, you are.

I'm saying the nfl players did a poor job of protesting.
Kaepernick and others were quite clear about their intentions, and it was a Navy Seal that recommended kneeling. How else should they have gone about it? Get permission from Fox news and Breitbart?
 

JohntheBaptist

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Jul 13, 2005
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Yoknapatawpha County
I'm just so sick of virtue signaling that when you have a pack of entitled assholes who treat everyone like shit like the NFL owners that jumping for the race explanation is a bit lazy and annoying. I'm not defending the league. I'm saying the nfl players did a poor job of protesting. That's not the same thing at all.
I find your desire to categorize those actions as "virtue signaling" to be an even more pronounced, obnoxious, and ill-considered version of virtue signaling. You're telling us you're "above" such protests and here's the real issue at hand, straight from the cranky white New Englander's mouth!

I mean, more to the point, I've been reading your posts here for over a decade. Let's say it doesn't exactly seem hard to annoy you and I'm struggling to understand why anyone should care that you're annoyed. That's the point of a protest.
 

BigJimEd

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Jan 4, 2002
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I understand there are differences between the NBA and NFL. That was my poorly expressed point.
A lot of this is not about the policy and it being a racist policy. But more about league history and leadership.

And yes Trump put the weight of his position and office behind it which got people's feelings about him involved. That was my secondary point. That anything with him becomes very emotional and difficult to discuss objectively.
 

Reverend

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I find your desire to categorize those actions as "virtue signaling" to be an even more pronounced, obnoxious, and ill-considered version of virtue signaling. You're telling us you're "above" such protests and here's the real issue at hand, straight from the cranky white New Englander's mouth!

I mean, more to the point, I've been reading your posts here for over a decade. Let's say it doesn't exactly seem hard to annoy you and I'm struggling to understand why anyone should care that you're annoyed. That's the point of a protest.
I find it disconcerting to think that, as a society, we may be losing the ability to make a distinction between virtue signalling and authentic virtue.

How long have we been listening to people scream that Kaep's statement was pointless and wouldn't have any effect? I remember thinking it bizarre at the time--like, if lots and lots of people are shouting that nobody will pay attention to something, like, that's a contradiction, right?--and it grows more and more bizarre as it grows more successful with time.
 

joe dokes

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Jul 18, 2005
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I understand there are differences between the NBA and NFL. That was my poorly expressed point.
A lot of this is not about the policy and it being a racist policy. But more about league history and leadership.

And yes Trump put the weight of his position and office behind it which got people's feelings about him involved. That was my secondary point. That anything with him becomes very emotional and difficult to discuss objectively.
His involvement transformed the debate. It didn't make it more difficult to discuss objectively.

Its difficult to parse the difference between "a racist policy" and "a policy that is geared to making sure racists don't stop watching." There *is* a difference. But I don't think its a meaningful one. (And I am confident that that the latter is Trump's goal.....to keep the racists on his side. As for the owners, I'm not sure if Trump's invovlement made it more difficult for them to at least try to emulate the NBA's approach (which would've pissed Trump off), or gave them cover to pursue their "true" desires "lets put the inmates back in their place.").

Not everyone who takes issue with kneeling is a racist. But it seems that there is near unanimity among racists about kneeling.