The NFL is facing a major hurdle as the league attempts to salvage their reputation. For many years, the NFL was a Sunday ritual for many Americans but that all started to change when the players followed in Colin Kaepernick’s footsteps and protested the national anthem.
Everybody has an opinion on whether the players’ protests are disrespectful towards the American flag and our country. Many people believe that the players should be fired for protesting while on the job. NFL leadership has been weak on the issue with many coaches and even the commissioner himself continuing to allow the players to protest with little to no punishment.
Many have become so outraged that a number of fans even took to social media to burn their memorabilia in front of a camera for the whole world to see. Not only have the protests reduced ratings and attendance, but sponsors have pulled out and have been very vocal about it. Papa John’s CEO even blamed the NFL for a decline in sales saying:
“The NFL has hurt us by not resolving the current debacle to the players’ and owners’ satisfaction,” Schnatter said in an earnings call on Nov. 1, via Bloomberg. “NFL leadership has hurt Papa John’s shareholders.”
Since that time the company issued a weak apology for their comments.
The protests have stirred so much emotion that NFL officials have begun to voice their opinion on the matter. The league is torn in two right now.
The NFL replay man working the Tampa Bay Buccaneers-New York Jets game made his way out onto the field during a challenge sporting a small sign attached to the back of his hat in protest of the NFL players who decide to kneel during the National Anthem.
The BroBible reported:
The debate caught fire in the last few months when President Trump attacked Kaepernick and several protesters when he called them “sons of bitches” for “disrespecting the troops” by kneeling during the anthem.
It appears that even NFL replay assistants have hot takes on national anthem protests. During today’s Jets-Bucs game, the guy holding up the tablet for the referee had a sign on his head that read “I will always stand”.
Only a handful of NFL players, far fewer than in recent weeks, protested during the national anthem before Sunday’s early games as the league celebrated Veterans Day weekend by honoring the military.
The NFL Players Association had asked all players to observe a two-minute moment of silence before games to honor veterans.
Even players who have been protesting most of the season stood for the anthem this week, including the Seahawks’ Michael Bennett, who stood before Thursday night’s game. Titans receiver Rishard Matthews walked onto the field holding hands with soldiers and stood with teammates for the anthem for the first time since President Donald Trump criticized players for protesting.
After raising his fist last week during the anthem, Lions running back Ameer Abdullah did not do so this week, instead of linking arms with teammates again.
The number of 49ers kneeling during the anthem dropped from four to two on Sunday as safety Eric Reid and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin knelt in protest of racial inequality in the country. Wide receiver Louis Murphy held up his right fist during the anthem in his first game since re-signing with the team this week.
In other games Sunday, Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon continued to kneel during the anthem and inactive Rams linebacker Robert Quinn put his right fist in the air. Punter Johnny Hekker put his arm around Quinn as a show of support, as usual.
Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the protest movement last season. He remains unsigned and has filed a complaint that team owners colluded against him because of the protests — aimed at police brutality against African-Americans and other issues.
While many players decided to stand during Veterans Day weekend, it still hasn’t changed people’s minds about the league. The NFL has caused so much damage that it is going to take years to rebuild their former glory. The players seem to have forgotten that without the fans there is no reason to be playing football at all.