Orlando joins the NFL's national anthem debate

Alicia Cross
May 25, 2018

Sentinel and Enterprise staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site. "But I understand if they felt the need to protest".

Soon after the NFL announced it would issue fines if players do not stand during the national anthem before games, one team owner said he will cover any financial penalties that come as a result of players protesting.

America is a free country, but not a ideal one.

Yet President Donald Trump has called the protests a "total disrespect of our heritage", and "a total disrespect of everything we stand for".

But stay out of sight.

"This is not patriotism", Long added. Don't get it confused. "These owners don't love America more than the players demonstrating and taking real action to improve it".

Speaking in a rare interview with Fox and Friends on Thursday morning, Trump aired his views on a number of topics including the FBI's use of a confidential source to aid its investigation into the Trump campaign, immigration, and the economy.

Then President Donald Trump stoked the controversy last fall by criticizing players who refuse to stand, saying it disrespected the USA military, and telling a crowd in Alabama, "Wouldn't you love to see one of these National Football League owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out!" His father served in the military, but he also understands why players have been protesting.

The policy contains six points, the first of which says players must "show respect for the flag and the anthem". For those that refuse to follow the new rules, teams - not players - will be fined for actions deemed as disrespectful.

If only we could ask the founder of the university, Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and someone who might have declined to stand when "God Save the Queen" was played, what he would tweet about all this.

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In this country, we honor our flag because it represents the freedoms afforded to us through the sacrifice of others.

Since the new policy is a change in the terms and conditions of employment that was not collectively bargained, any attempts to fine individual players would surely be opposed by the union.

Trump even suggested that protesting players should leave the country. In many cases, the players were joined by the coaching staffs and in some cases even the owners themselves.

Both have filed collusion grievances against the NFL. "It's not what this country was founded upon so it's kind of ironic to me that the President of the United States is contradicting what our country is really built on".

"We have a great respect for what that flag means and we're very supportive of the policy", the Minnesota Vikings ownership said in a statment. "They make those decisions".

Commissioner Roger Goodell's goal in issuing the NFL's ham-handed and tone-deaf anthem policy on Wednesday was to bring closure to an issue that has proved irksome to the league for the past two seasons. There's Kaepernick, Eric something or other, I think a guy on the Chiefs, maybe some Eagles, that one guy and definitely no Patriots. "People in high places are trying to divide us, divide loyalties (and) make this about the flag, as if the flag is something other than what it really is".

The timing of the announcement of the new policy could not be worse. York said he didn't feel comfortable making a decision without directly involving the players' union.

While the owners voted unanimously for the measure, New York Jets Chairman Christopher Johnson emerged as a supporter of their protest.

The statement announcing the change said the National Football League had "reaffirmed their strong commitment to work alongside our players to strengthen our communities and advance social justice".

"I think that's the difference between patriotism and nationalism", he said.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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