Roger Goodell released a statement to all teams on Tuesday stating that during next week’s owners meeting, the possibility of requiring all players to stand for the National Anthem will be discussed. Goodell stated, “like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem. It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us.” However, Goodell immediately added, “we also care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues.”
Why the change of heart?
I’m sure there are a lot of reasons.
Is it the ratings issue? Ratings are down, way down. In fact, Monday night’s game was a ratings season low. Goodell and company need to bring back those folks who actually are boycotting as a result of the kneeling.
Was it Vice President Pence walking out of Sunday’s Colts/49ers game? Maybe, although…come on. Everyone I have talked to about this, including a few GOP supporters, saw “PR STUNT” written all over that. I’m not Goodell’s biggest fan (I am a NE girl, don’t forget), but I will give the guy credit to see this for what it was.
Both are possibilities, right? Right. But if I were a betting girl, I would say the big reason behind the change of heart has something to do with Trump’s comment on the league’s tax exempt status. A threat that could bring significant financial ramifications to the league. Why the NFL is a tax-exempt organization, I’ll never understand. But they are and with the GOP trying to pass a tax reform package, well, the threat could very well become a reality.
A Good Thing?
Unfortunately, I feel that the message players are trying to convey by kneeling has gotten lost in the drama. It feels more and more like a defiance against the POTUS (and in a way, it should be) instead of drawing attention and starting conversations around the social issues so many people face on a day-to-day basis. Maybe it is a good thing to move past this movement. Don’t get me wrong, I believe players still need and should keep talking about these issues and they should still use their fame and influence to do so, but kneeling during the National Anthem feels…lost.
What do you think?