This is a follow-up to our 2016 story “To Kneel for Freedom” which explained why NFL players were kneeling during the national anthem. The current message right now is similar to what was stated then, but with an additional focus: “You Aren’t Listening”:
Where things stand in the NFL right now
Former NFL player Colin Kaepernick and current free agent Eric Reid have both filed grievance claims against the NFL, citing that owners are basically blacklisting them out of employment due to their protests during the national anthem the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
Kaepernick’s case is currently underway and one can expect that it will be some time before Reid’s case is heard.
Reid files after having trouble in free agency, as the 49ers’ first round draft pick just finished his rookie contract with San Francisco and has only met with the Cincinnati Bengals so far. The meeting included a film session, workout, and interview with both Bengals owner Mike Brown and coach Marvin Lewis.
No contract was offered at the end of the meeting, which is allegedly believed to be because the Bengals owner questioned Reid about his protesting in the past and Reid didn’t commit to not protest during the meeting.
It appears that Reid might just be the new Kaepernick, which could lead to another season of both NFL fans complaining and players expressing why again the focus of the protest has been skewed.
As stated before in Cypher Sessions’ first story on the topic, kneeling is not disrespectful. If someone is injured on the field, other players kneel, right? It’s also what those serving in the military do when mourning at a fellow fallen soldier’s grave site.
Kaepernick met with a Green Beret about sitting at the beginning of the 2016 season. After an honest conversation between the two, Kaepernick decided to kneel instead.
Fast forward through a season of continued protests and overly critical fans and you arrive to the NFL’s newest solution to the protests: fining teams. That’s right.
The league will fine teams for players or team personnel who are on the field and not standing during the national anthem. In order to avoid fines, players can wait in the locker room until the anthem is over.
31 owners voted for this, one abstained. Let that sink in for a moment.
Suffice it to say that the NFL might be in for another lean year when it comes to how much they make during the 2018-2019 season. Let’s also not forget that the Philadelphia Eagles, the team that won the Super Bowl back in February? They too will not be going to the White House.
Responses from other professional athletes
Over in the NBA, it’s a collective sigh from pretty much all of the big names when it comes to how the NFL and the current president of the United States are handling this situation.
“No matter who wins this series, no one wants the invite anyway,” LeBron James said. “It won’t be Golden State or Cleveland going.”
“At the end of the day, every team has an opportunity to make a decision for themselves, and speak for themselves,” Stephen Curry said. “I think that’s powerful being in this situation.”
The Golden State Warriors did not go to the White House last year after winning the 2017 NBA championship, opting to go to the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture instead for their trip to the nation’s capital.
The Eagles could do something similar or they could opt to do something within the Philadelphia community. Either way, the direction of this issue is one that should baffle even the most casual observer.
Why it should baffle you
Fining teams because players aren’t “patriotic” enough feels like something from an autocratic ruler. No harm is done to anyone with the protest methods chosen by professional athletes; furthermore, they aren’t protesting necessarily for their own rights, but those people who have had said rights violated time and again.
If this is still difficult for you to understand, scroll back to the top and watch the video with Malcolm Jenkins. What did those cards say that he was holding? Did you read the stats?
That’s what’s being protested by professional athletes, not the national anthem. If you haven’t figured that out by now, you’re not listening.
Oh and one more thing with Kaepernick’s hearing? His law team is planning to request and then if needed subpoena both the president and vice president of the United States for their roles in this issue.