NFLPA hires multiple law firms to explore new anthem policy

Getty Images

Three weeks ago, the NFL changed its anthem policy without input from or discussion with the NFL Players Association. And the NFLPA is preparing for a potential legal fight over the change.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the NFLPA has retained multiple law firms to research the options for fighting the new policy, which mandates all players in the playing area to stand for the anthem, and which requires any player who would protest the anthem to remain in the locker room.

One potential challenge would come in the form of a “non-injury grievance” under the Collective Bargaining Agreement. The deadline for filing the grievance would come in late July, and the argument would be that the NFL failed to engage in good-faith bargaining with the union before taking away a right that the NFL had previously given to the players, and that the NFL had confirmed on multiple occasions.

The league gave players the right to protest in 2009, via a poorly-drafted policy that requires the players to be present on the sideline for the anthem but that makes standing optional. In 2016, the NFL confirmed that players are not required to stand after Colin Kaepernick was first spotted sitting during the anthem. In 2017, the NFL once again told players that they would have the right to protest, after the President said that he’d like to see an NFL owner respond to an anthem protest by saying, “Get that son of a bitch off the field, he’s fired!”

Other forms of litigation are possible, including an action based on both the U.S. and various state constitutions premised on First Amendment rights to freedom of expression.

However it plays out, the NFL’s effort to placate the President and his base backfired badly, and it has put the NFL in line for a fight with the union that the NFL possibly will lose.

60 responses to “NFLPA hires multiple law firms to explore new anthem policy

  1. Unfortunately a lot of fans think nationalism is far more important than freedom of speech. The irony being that their supposed mistrust of government is in opposition to their willingness to surrender legal rights guaranteed by our Constitution.

    If you’re upset about the protests, stop watching the NFL. There’s plenty of high school football out there.

  2. The NFL will once again prevail and the NFLPA will once again lose millions of dollars in legal fees. Not to mention how bad they will look in the public eye. I do love it! Worst union in the history of American sport. I think the NFL looks great in this, but you are pro player so you think they look bad. Funny stuff.

  3. The most LOGICAL thing would be to play the anthem when both teams are in the locker room after warmups…….so we know that’s off the table.

  4. To think they’re generating that much money to waste on this. There’s so many good charities, impoverished countries, and just people struggling that could use that wasted money.

  5. The policy is you stand up to Honor the flag that flies over the country you live in and to honor those past and present that served or died for that flag. Any thing else is treason and those that commit treason should be punished. It’s not about individual gain to be recognized for your personal protest against something that has NOTHING to do with football or honoring those who fought and died for this flag. Either stand for your flag or get out of this country or or tried for treason, your choice.

  6. So this is how your union spends millions of dollars. To find out how to continue what is now a irrelevant “protest “. Proud moment indeed. They’ll probably have to raise your dues when you need lawyers to get a player friendly CBA. Brilliant.

  7. Why dont they maybe help people who need help with this money, instead of this? Just a thought.

  8. However it plays out, the NFL’s effort to placate the President and his base backfired badly, and it has put the NFL in line for a fight with the union that the NFL possibly will lose.
    ——————————————

    If you’ve ever heard the expression “pick your battles wisely” this is one of those times.
    It would show severe lack of intelligence to go to court in front of the country to fight for the right to disrespect our country. The 5% of the players who actually want to protest during the anthem will be gone soon. Lesson learned now fade away.

  9. Ivan Pavlov says:
    June 14, 2018 at 4:50 pm
    Unfortunately a lot of fans think nationalism is far more important than freedom of speech. The irony being that their supposed mistrust of government is in opposition to their willingness to surrender legal rights guaranteed by our Constitution.
    If you’re upset about the protests, stop watching the NFL. There’s plenty of high school football out there
    __________________________________________________________________________________________
    Nationalism far out weighs freedom of speech to speak against and denounce your country and it’s flag is treason and those who commit treason should be punished accordingly to the fullest extent of the law. If you served in this country’s military as I did and fought for this country as I did and you see this CRAP going on it’s makes you sick that they are grand standing and using something that I and many hold dearly and with extreme honor to our hearts. Nationalism compared to this garbage excuse for attention. Your damn right nationalism wil ver come all!

  10. Yeah, this is gonna pull fans back in droves.

    If the NFLPA thinks the last negotiations went bad, the next round is gonna be a bloodbath.

    Sooner or later players are going to wake up and realize that everyone is replaceable in sports.

    For every player, there are 1000 guys that would trade places with them in a heartbeat and be happy to do so.

  11. Packernet says:
    June 14, 2018 at 4:51 pm
    The NFL will once again prevail and the NFLPA will once again lose millions of dollars in legal fees.

    Probably not so, this time. Collective bargaining agreements are tough to violate with impunity.

  12. The NFLPA needs to be cautious on this. Litigating this issue will destroy a significant amount of support for the players. The court of public opinion will overwhelmingly be against the players in court. The headlines will be killers for the union.

  13. If Goodell knew what he was doing the wording would have said must stand instead of should stand.
    Now we have all this.

  14. I do not care for the manor of protest. I do not care for the NFL’s response.
    Here is an idea that might actually help someone rather than just “protest”. Drop the lawsuits ( including Kaep’s ). Divert all funds that were going to be going to lawyers to causes picked by the NFLPA. Allow the players to kneel if they want to but each time they kneel there will be a small fine attached. That fine will not go to the NFL but to a charity of the NFLPA’s choice. This way, the players that want to kneel will actually be making a positive contribution and not just virtue signaling. I think after a while the players and the NFLPA will realize they can both stand for the national anthem and provide tangible support to those they feel are afflicted. They will drop the protest and contribute a set amount of each game check to the causes they hold dear. Win win.

  15. Amazing how hard some people work to hate the free country that made them rich and famous. Of course, this is also the biography of their hero President Obama.

  16. Hey Davante, how much of your time and money OFF the field have you spent “protesting”?? If you don’t like it, you and all of your spoiled, overpaid friends should quit the NFL and go to the CFL…… or the new AAF. But you won’t because all of you “protesters” are good at “talking the talk” but you won’t “walk the walk”.

  17. Does the NFLPA know what they’re doing? They’re seriously going to litigate this for which a small % of their union members care about at the risk of pissing off a % of their fans?

    There’s no winning this – they look bad either way, so why on earth would they hire MULTIPLE law firms to turn their billable hours on? As many have commented up above, why not take that money and actually put it to good use in the community!?!?!

  18. Obviously they see how the law does not back them on this, the CBA does not back them, and the first amendment does not apply. Otherwise they would not be cattle calling all these lawyers to find a way around all that. If they had any legal leg to stand on they would not need to pay for all that. This has to be one of the dumbest hill to die on choices I have ever seen.

    Meanwhile Malcolm Jenkins tried protesting some other way outside the games and got almost instant response and outreach.

  19. Ivan Pavlov says:
    June 14, 2018 at 4:50 pm
    Unfortunately a lot of fans think nationalism is far more important than freedom of speech. The irony being that their supposed mistrust of government is in opposition to their willingness to surrender legal rights guaranteed by our Constitution.

    If you’re upset about the protests, stop watching the NFL. There’s plenty of high school football out there
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Freedom of speech is an individual right. Nobody is saying that can’t protest on their own time. They are saying as part of an organization they joined they can not protest on company time. Believe it or not these players made a choice to participate in the NFL, they are not being held against their will by the league. They can leave at any time if they don’t like the way it is ran.

    As a person I don’t give a rat’s rear end if they protest, what I do care about is that fact Politics has invaded another area that it should not be. Worried about social injustice, work in the community protest on your day off. KEEP IT OFF THE FIED.

  20. willycents says:
    June 14, 2018 at 5:15 pm
    The NFLPA needs to be cautious on this. Litigating this issue will destroy a significant amount of support for the players. The court of public opinion will overwhelmingly be against the players in court. The headlines will be killers for the union.

    ———————————————————————-

    Too late. This can only end badly. the LAST thing the NFL & the NFLPA need is another lawsuit. Don’t both of them ever grow tired of shooting each other in the foot with this anthem thing?

  21. This issue is just sooo easy to fix… Congress just needs to start the process of pulling the NFL’s Anti-Trust exemption and watch how fast both sides – NFL, NFL Players Union come to agreement. Neither side wants to kill the golden goose that lets the league make boatloads of money while paying the players insane amounts.

  22. Another example of Uion hypocrisy. Use the money to help Vets who are battling CTE.

    Honor those who came before and made the game what it is today. Guys that had to work in the off season to eat. Not on some grandstanding play that will continue to alienate fans and decrease the value of the product

  23. Fire em all and start over with folks that want to play football and be marvelously compensated for doing so….then….well you know the one about attorneys and the lake, right?

  24. Keep it up. I have no issue not watching games and finding other things to do if you want to keep this up. I tuned in to some playoff games last year but I ignored regular season games and didn’t miss much.

  25. .
    it’s funny how simple things that don’t effect people make them whine the loudest then they call the others snowflakes

  26. For those that believe this is a violation of the players 1st amendment rights since they are not allowed free speech while on the football field, do you also believe it is a violation of their second amendment rights to not allow them to carry a weapons on the football field. If not, why the difference from a constitutional standpoint?

  27. vashonartist says:
    June 14, 2018 at 6:08 pm
    I support the players and their right to protest.

    ——————-
    I do too and encourage them to do more of it. But I dont get this obsession why it has to be this one way and nothing else. Its not even the highest profile means availble. No matter what words they say their actions speak louder and do look like this is more about chips on shoulders than it is about any social issue.

  28. Guess all the big problems like CTE are taken care of. Best to spend money litigating something important.

  29. How do we square these pegs? How come America was at it’s greatest while Unions made the middle class and now after Corporations have written the rules via dark money Unions have become the obstruction of the middle class?

  30. Fans began exiting the NFL before the President stood up for the flag and anthem, which is what he should do. I know that’s a change for some but that’s actually the way it used to be.

  31. Instead of worrying about the black millionaires, the NFL should be more worried about all the fans that think disrespecting the flag is unacceptable enough for them to abandon the NFL.

  32. You can like it, or hate it.. your choice, but the SCOTUS has already made a ruling that covers both the Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance and the law is on the NFLPA’s side.

    West Virginia State Board of Ed vs Barnette

    The ruling states it is unconstitutional for someone in a position of authority to determine what is standard when it comes to public patriotism.

    “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”

    “Words uttered under coercion are proof of loyalty to nothing but self-interest. Love of country must spring from willing hearts and free minds, inspired by a fair administration of wise laws enacted by the people’s elected representatives within the bounds of express constitutional prohibitions.”

  33. I am still waiting to hear from the NFLPA on what they are doing with their $90 million slush fund to promote social justice. So much talk about kneeling, not kneeling, the NFL made a gesture by giving them $90 million so let’s see just how the players are really changing the world instead of just talking about it.

  34. kairn42 says:
    June 14, 2018 at 8:04 pm
    You can like it, or hate it.. your choice, but the SCOTUS has already made a ruling that covers both the Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance and the law is on the NFLPA’s side.
    West Virginia State Board of Ed vs Barnette
    The ruling states it is unconstitutional for someone in a position of authority to determine what is standard when it comes to public patriotism.
    “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”
    “Words uttered under coercion are proof of loyalty to nothing but self-interest. Love of country must spring from willing hearts and free minds, inspired by a fair administration of wise laws enacted by the people’s elected representatives within the bounds of express constitutional prohibitions.”
    ————————

    If the NBA can do it, the NFL can do it also. Besides, the NFL is giving the players the option to protest by staying in the locker room.

  35. How about : Stand? There just saved you $10 million in legal fees! P.S. I believe the NFL SELLS Advertising slots $300K for 30 seconds. Go ahead and take out an ad. Pay for it. speak your piece. and move on. otherwise you are just showboating. Nobody likes show boaters!!

  36. vashonartist says:
    June 14, 2018 at 6:08 pm
    I support the players and their right to protest
    ———-
    The issue is when, not the protests themselves.

  37. For Trump supporters, this isn’t about patriotism, or respecting norms. It’s about acquiescence. It’s about control. It used to be a norm in this country to respect the service of our military veterans and P.O.W.’s. Trump (a five time draft dodger) says John McCain is no hero, and then insults P.O.W.’s by saying he prefers soldiers who “don’t get captured”. Not a peep out of his supporters. It used to be a norm in this country to respect Gold Star families. Trump attacks the Khan family, and again, not a peep out of his supporters.

    If the price of having an NFL is that we have to hear lectures about patriotism from phony, hypocritical fake-patriots, then maybe it’s time for the NFL to go.

  38. kairn42 says:
    June 14, 2018 at 8:04 pm
    You can like it, or hate it.. your choice, but the SCOTUS has already made a ruling that covers both the Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance and the law is on the NFLPA’s side.

    West Virginia State Board of Ed vs Barnette

    The ruling states it is unconstitutional for someone in a position of authority to determine what is standard when it comes to public patriotism.

    “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”

    “Words uttered under coercion are proof of loyalty to nothing but self-interest. Love of country must spring from willing hearts and free minds, inspired by a fair administration of wise laws enacted by the people’s elected representatives within the bounds of express constitutional prohibitions.”
    ———————————————

    That case applies to “public” schools forcing students to pledge allegiance to the flag. It has nothing to do with a privately owned business and job requirements. Besides the players aren’t being forced to do anything. Those cowards can sit in the locker room if they want.

  39. This whole “freedom of speech” thing is way out of control in this county. The Founders never meant for freedom of speech to give you the right to offend others and stick your own opinions in everyones’ faces.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!