The NFL had one right way to fix the anthem mess that the NFL created. But the NFL won’t be doing that, because that would cost too much.
So instead the NFL has tried to fashion something that is being called by the NFL a “compromise.”
Per Judy Batista of NFL Media, “Anthem policy is compromise — if players are on sideline, will stand. But players may choose to stay in the locker room if they prefer not to stand.”
As Ian Rapoport of NFL Media adds, “Respecting the anthem will be paramount if you’re on the sideline. Teams can also set their own policies. Compromise all around.”
It may represent a compromise among the owners, but it’s hardly compromise among the owners and the players. The only way to truly compromise would be to actually compromise — to acknowledge that the NFL gave the players the right to protest during the anthem, and to make some sort of a concession aimed at getting the players to agree to stand.
No, the NFL won’t do that. The NFL doesn’t want to fashion a compromise because the NFL doesn’t want to make a concession to the union. And the union fully realizes the value of the concession it would be making by persuading all players to agree to stand for the anthem.
The adjustment to the policy that the league clumsily created in 2009, confirmed in 2016, and reiterated in 2017 isn’t a compromise, because it takes away a player’s right to protest during the anthem, and it gives the player nothing in return.