NFL Takes Page Out of Trump's Russia Playbook, Moonwalks Back on National Anthem Policy

Telvin Smith #50 of the Jacksonville Jaguars raises his arm in protest with teammates during the National Anthem prior to the game against the Baltimore Ravens at EverBank Field on September 25, 2016 in Jacksonville, Florida.
Photo: Maddie Meyer (Getty Images)

Despite the fact that some 70 percent of its players are African American, the National Football League is a conglomerate owned by white men that markets itself to white men. So it was no surprise when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and plantation league owners ran out of the tunnel all hyped up to appease their master, President Donald Trump, who made player protests his focus during rallies in states where most residents own pickup trucks.

The president painted players who kneeled to protest the killings of unarmed black men, women, and children by police as “un-American.” So the NFL rushed to implement a policy that would punish players who protested on the field during the anthem in hopes that the president would stop criticizing the league.


It didn’t work. The president basically called the new policy stupid. Some players also vowed that they would continue protesting. The NFL also failed to establish whether there would be punishment for those who raised their fist during the anthem versus those who kneeled. In short, it was a clusterfuck of appeasement for our white-supremacist-in-chief and it didn’t work.

Turns out, it was a false start.

Much like Trump’s position on Russia, the NFL is moonwalking back their original anthem policy to form something else. No one knows what that “something else” will eventually look like, but at least this time they are actually consulting the NFL Players Association (NFLPA).

According to Yahoo, late Thursday the NFL and NFLPA released a statement, possibly to combat a leaked document revealing that the Miami Dolphins brass planned to fine and suspend players who protested during the anthem, stating that they are working together to find a resolution to the protest problem.


The news also comes after Tennessee Titans defensive lineman Jurrell Casey noted this week that he has no intention of stopping the protest that he began during last year’s NFL season.


“I’m going to take a fine this year, why not?” Casey told CNN during a promotional event for the NFL’s International Series in the United Kingdom. “I’m going to protest during the flag. That’s what I’m going to say now.”

“It is what it is, I ain’t going to let them stop me from doing what I want to do,” he said, according to CNN. “If they want to have these battles between players and organizations, this is the way it’s going to be.”


So the NFL is huddling up to see if it can come up with a play that works. And, unless the new plan includes owners running onto the sidelines yelling, “Get that son-of-a-bitch off the field,” the president probably won’t be happy.

Perhaps they should take a page out of Trump’s playbook and simply announce that when they said they would fine American citizens for exercising their right to protest, what they actually meant to say was that they wouldn’t fine players.


Or maybe they’re consulting with the new NFL commissioner: Vladimir Putin.

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About the author

Stephen A. Crockett Jr.

Senior Editor @ The Root, boxes outside my weight class, when they go low, you go lower.