Opinions of owners vary on anthem protests

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The NFL is struggling to find an answer on how to handle protests during the national anthem, without offending everyone in the process.

Comments from a pair of owners Sunday at the league meetings in Orlando show just how difficult it will be to come to a consensus.

In addition to defending disgraced Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, Texans owner Bob McNair was willing to touch all the hot buttons during an interview in the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton. While his “inmates running the prison” remark last October should have made it clear where he stands, McNair spelled out his oppositions to any kind of peaceful statement made during the anthem.

“Our playing field, that’s not the place for political statements,” McNair said, throwing in “religious statements” as well (because that particular fire needed one more log on it).

He added that he didn’t want to anger his paying customers, which makes it clear which portion of them he’s listening to.

“There are fans that are upset about it,” he said. “Fans are our customers. You can replace the owners and the league will survive. You can replace the players, although the game won’t be good. You can’t replace the fans. If you don’t have fans, you’re dead.”

But there’s also the small matter of the league not wanting to incite a riot among the labor pool for being perceived to heavy-handedly dictate what can and cannot be said.

That’s what Jets CEO Christopher Johnson seemed to realize.

“I can’t speak to how other people run their teams, but I just think that trying to forcibly get the players to shut up is a fantastically bad idea,” Johnson said, via Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com.

Owners are expected to discuss the topic this week, though a decision on any kind of policy isn’t expected at this meeting.

And based on the dichotomy of opinions, finding a common ground that will please all of them might be difficult, before they even bring players into the mix.

37 responses to “Opinions of owners vary on anthem protests

  1. Players have their twitter, facebook, youtube, many more that doesn’t affect the DURING games. Why you must go on games to show yourself against others, ruin others?

    If you’re a bigger man, You can join the list of free agents that yet to sign a team, Starting Kaepernick.

  2. Jet fans might want Woody to turn the team over to this guy permanently because he hit the nail on the head better than anyone has since this started. Try to force any young people to do that from every spectrum of this country, and they’re going to defy you even more. When these dummies decided to respond to the person supposedly running the country right now, there were literally like 3 or 4 players still protesting, and then the carnival barker decided to go campaign for another doomed person he laid his bad political juju on that eventually lost,and they responded predictably stupidly to give him cover for not doing his job very well, which incited even some idiots in the league that didn’t even know why they were protesting but just did it because, which is kind of what young people do no matter what the issue or theme is. Tell your daughter not to date that bad guy, and see how appealing he gets. Forbid your kids from trying drugs, and see how fast they can light up. Age old but these idiots are so out of touch that they don’t get it.

  3. “He added that he didn’t want to anger his paying customers, which makes it clear which portion of them he’s listening to.”

    Yes, it makes clear that he is listening to the overwhelming majority of NFL fans. We tune in to watch the game and be entertained, not for political commentary. The game – and that includes the anthem – belong to the fans, not the players. The field isn’t their “platform”; players have Twitter, TV interviews, radio interviews, blogs, Facebook, Instagram, and all of the other social media outlets that I’m not cool enough to be able to name.

  4. Funny that NBA requires standing and there are no issues. The NFL is “letting the inmates run the asylum” and look at the mess they created.

    If your employer makes a rule, either follow it or go find employment somewhere else. If all the players want to walk, then buh-bye!!

  5. But there’s also the small matter of the league not wanting to incite a riot among the labor pool for being perceived to heavy-handedly dictate what can and cannot be said.
    ———————————

    So what is that supposed to mean? The owners need to be scared of their employees? We all know how this ends. The players WILL fall in line. Money is the language everyone understands. Do your job or pick up your application from Walmart.

  6. It’s. It even a protest anymore. Kneeling has not done anything good. I honestly believe Kaepernick did it a
    Knowing it would creat havoc and it has. If the word “ should “ meant you will since the NFL was created why shouldn’t it stand for the same thing now.

  7. Saying something like you don’t want them to protest (and thereby picking a side) is a horrible idea. The same can be said about protesting (and thereby picking a side) and then relying on the kindness of owners who disagree with you to pay you millions to play a game instead of giving the same or less money to someone who does not offend 70% of the fan base.

  8. The rest of America have rules to follow at work, And probably the
    first rule is or should be is Don’t make the customers mad.
    The NFL’s customers have already spoken and said they don’t like it.
    I think the answer is simple enough. If you have to put a punishment
    in place so be it.

  9. Bottom line – the vast majority of Americans finds protesting during the anthem to be offensive, and it shouldn’t be rocket surgery for the victimhood-promoting protesters to figure out. Working-class Americans who buy the tickets, the beer, pay the exorbitant parking fees, etc. that support the massive salaries that these poor “victims” receive do not protest while in uniform at our jobs, we’d get fired immediately. It’s not the time or place to do it. Protest all you want on your own time, but at game time, with your paying customers watching and in attendance, you’re a bunch of fools if you think that’s the right time to throw a hissy fit over whatever grievance you are promoting this week. We’re sick of it and will take our money elsewhere if it doesn’t stop. Many of us already have.

  10. Whenever I read an anthem protest post I come to one conclusion. Kap was doing his silent protest before it became a media storm. The media loves controversy and if 2% of all protest were being done the media will translate it into 98%

  11. anger the labor pool? How lucky that the players, who make millions of dollars playing a game (Where else in the developed world does a sports team player makes millions of dollars?) get to dictate to the owners what they want to do. May I say these players are quite privileged? Protesting the anthem of a country that allows you to play a game and be rich off of it is the stupidest thing. If it is not about the anthem, then why are you making it about the anthem? You want to protest “police brutality” go peacefully march in front of your local police station on your own time.

  12. It is also funny that in a country of 350+ million people, the media is shocked that the world doesn’t revolve around their point of view. I would say what, the country is usually split 50-50 left wing, right wing and the left wing media acts like they are 80% of America and then they are shocked by the economic and electorate impact of shoving their views on the American people in which they expect us to blindly follow. Players want to protest? That is their right. The owners have a right to make the rules that they see fit and will render their product healthy. According to most polls, the majority of Americans do in fact believe that protesting the anthem is not right and the owners know this.

  13. Let’s see the kid working at Burger King take a knee while a customer is ordering, then tell them it’s because he thinks the whole country is racist. He’ll be right back in the unemployment line.

  14. Well I enjoyed the NFL last year as much as all the tears I’ve watched. Started in 1952. The kneeling did not ruin the game for me. I’m an American and a vet (62-68 USMC). Really don’t know what the big deal is about a handful of young men kneeling durning the playing of the star spangled banner.

  15. Years not tears. Only tears I remember was when Wilbert went off right guard for a TD in championship against Dallas.

  16. Playing the anthem is as political statement in and of itself. You don’t want any political statements at all, then you shouldn’t play the song.

    What’s that? Political statements YOU agree with are peachy keen and should be required so everyone in the whole country can also feel peachy keen and we can all exist in a state of peachy keenness forever? Why didn’t you say so?

  17. Playing the anthem is as political statement in and of itself. You don’t want any political statements at all, then you shouldn’t play the song.

    What’s that? Political statements YOU agree with are peachy keen and should be required so everyone in the whole country can also feel peachy keen and we can all exist in a state of peachy keenness forever? Why didn’t you say so?
    ———————–

    Bingo. How about the NFL and its teams not take DoD money to play the anthem and have Vet days?? How about we go back to the days where it wasnt played at all? Wouldnt that be awesome?

  18. stexan says:
    March 25, 2018 at 7:56 pm
    Playing the anthem is as political statement in and of itself. You don’t want any political statements at all, then you shouldn’t play the song.

    What’s that? Political statements YOU agree with are peachy keen and should be required so everyone in the whole country can also feel peachy keen and we can all exist in a state of peachy keenness forever? Why didn’t you say so?

    That was pretty much what I waded into the comments to say.

    But then, my perspective on it is perhaps a little different as an Australian living in Canada.

  19. stexan says:
    March 25, 2018 at 7:56 pm
    Playing the anthem is as political statement in and of itself. You don’t want any political statements at all, then you shouldn’t play the song.

    What’s that? Political statements YOU agree with are peachy keen and should be required so everyone in the whole country can also feel peachy keen and we can all exist in a state of peachy keenness forever? Why didn’t you say so?
    ———————————————————————————-

    Yeah, I mean why not celebrate being AMERICAN with 60K+ other AMERICANS assembled to watch a game together. What a terrible idea. The two minutes you have to stand for the National Anthem is much longer than many soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who can’t stand because they lost limbs fighting for YOUR liberties. The National Anthem isn’t a political song; it’s crosses all parties, races, and religions. If being an AMERICAN offends you, leave. Or better yet, grab your vape, put on your skinny jeans, and kneel.

  20. This subject really no right or wrong, too many aspects to it. So here are the main points as I see it.
    1) Kapernick saw something he felt was a problem, police violence, and brought attention to it. So he was successful in that.
    1a) But now that attention has been brought to the subject, it is time to do something that more directly addresses the problem. Donate money, time etc. to organizations that are trying to fix the problem. Kneeling does nothing to actually fix the problem. Kapernick, to his credit, seems to have done that, other player have not.
    2) It is your right to protest, and taking a knee is protected by freedom of speech.
    2a) When you work for someone, they are allowed to make rules that you are compelled to follow in order to keep your job. In most workplaces it is frowned on to bring up politics and religion. So in short, you have the right to free speech, so you cannot be charged with breaking a law, but you do not have a right to a job.

    One final thought, I have heard the term “ conscientious objector” thrown out there. A conscientious objector willingly get arrested to expose a law that they feel is wrong. First off, the players are not getting arrested. Secondly, in that spirit the player should be willing to lose their job to expose a wrong that feel need changing. Unfortunately, with some exceptions, the players are willing to kneel while under contract, but when looking for their next payday start putting out statements that they do not intend to kneel anymore. That is kind of like the many soldiers (a minority) I have met in my life who are all Gung-ho until it is time to deploy to a combat zone. It is one thing to talk the talk when nothing is at risk, it is another to have the conviction to risk something.

  21. The opinions actually don’t vary. You just have owners that are afraid to speak their minds and owners that are true leaders of men that Understand how disrespectful and scummy kneeling for the anthem is.

  22. The players used to stay in the locker rooms while the anthem was being played, but the league signed some sort of deal with the military to aid in recruitment. They can still do something along those lines, like have veterans as special guests of honor. This whole thing has become a distraction. The kneeling doesn’t bother me. The Redskins name doesn’t bother me. It’s the football that I’m attracted to. Draft dodgers like our president don’t even bother me, but they shouldn’t really be waving the flag over this issue and pretending to be big military supporters, when they didn’t have the courage to serve our country. This has turned into a circus. Nobody even remembers why Kaepernick started kneeling. He was originally sitting during the anthem, but then a veteran told him it would be more respectful to the military if he took a knee instead.

  23. Failing to understand that the anthem is a political statement is hard for me to understand. Failure to understand that requiring anyone to stand for it is another kind of political statement takes it to another level.
    Deliberately pretending that millions of Americans are not routinely denied the rights that servicemen of all colors/creeds have fought and died for – BECAUSE of their color/creed – is ignorance, and malicious at that.

  24. That’s what Jets CEO Christopher Johnson seemed to realize.

    “I can’t speak to how other people run their teams, but I just think that trying to forcibly get the players to shut up is a fantastically bad idea,” Johnson said, via Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com.
    #####

    With “leadership” like this, it’s no wonder the Jets are so dysfunctional.

    No one is “forcing the players to shut up”.

    They are simply expecting the players to stand up respectfully during the anthem when they are at work.

    They can choose to do otherwise on their own time.

  25. Nice parsing of the actual statements. This article is made to sound like half the owners have varying opinions where in actuality it is one. The main gist from what i read somewhere else the owners want to do what the fans want which is have no kneeling.

  26. I love that he included religious statements. I hope that means he will punish the players for praying, prayer circles and actions praising the heavens.

  27. Our great country has given these protesters so much yet they continue to spit on us. We are awaiting a well deserved apology otherwise you will continue to remain unwelcomed in our homes.

  28. It would be interesting if the NFL shut down. Who would have a better chance of remaining financially successful, self made billionaires (or at least most of them), or guys who can run fast or throw/catch a ball.

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