The NFL Player’s Union has officially filed a grievance over the league’s new National Anthem Policy, which forces players to stay in the locker room as a team or stand for the anthem. The change, spurred on by complaints of disrespect last year, has angered both players who kneeled to show displeasure and their coaches, as well as a long list of other individuals involved in the NFL.
• The new rule was meant to act as a compromise between players who believe they have the right to protest and players who see kneeling during the anthem as the right to protest. However, it has caused far more controversy than it resolved.
• “The union’s claim is that this new policy, imposed by the NFL’s governing body without consultation with the NFLPA, is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on player rights,” the Player’s Union reported in a statement earlier this week.
• The NFLPA, and several coaches, have accused NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL of acting in bad faith. They state that Goodell never consulted with players, coaches, or managers before making the decision.
• The NFLPA also believes refusing to allow players to kneel infringes in their right to protest. “NFL players have shown their patriotism through their social activism, their community service,” they said, “in support of our military and law enforcement and yes, through their protests to raise awareness about the issues they care about.
• President Trump has sent clear messages about how he feels about kneeling during the anthem. Shortly after the first event, he disinvited Jenkins’ Super Bowl-winning Eagles from a celebratory event at the White House.
• He later tweeted his thoughts. “Staying in the Locker Room for the playing of our National Anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling,” he posted. “Sorry!”
• Despite the controversy, both sides seem eager to work together. In fact, the NFLPA and the Goodell and Co. have agreed to bring in an arbitrator to help them find a solution. The end goal, of course, is to respect everyone’s rights without insulting or mocking our great country during the game.