Per multiple reports, the NFL and NFL Players Association aren’t expected to strike a deal regarding the anthem policy any time soon, if at all this year. And the NFL may be in the process of accepting that reality.
A source with knowledge of the league’s thinking on this issue tells PFT that, currently, the NFL hopes to build trust with players on social equality issues more than it worries about reaching a deal regarding the anthem policy. And the league believes that, gradually, more and more trust is indeed being developed, with the goal of building even more and more of it as the parties periodically meet to discuss the issues.
Of course, and as the source acknowledged, employment for Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid would go a long way toward building trust between management and labor.
The league otherwise believes that the anthem controversy is subsiding, notwithstanding the periodic 280-character-max messages from a certain Twitter account with more than 54 million followers. On Sunday, only a handful of players protested on the field; Dolphins receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson took a knee, and Dolphins defensive end Robert Quinn raised a fist. Chargers left tackle Russell Okung also raised a fist.
In Denver, receiver Demaryius Thomas and linebacker Brandon Marshall stood in the tunnel during the anthem.
And the games went on, without a major brouhaha or other wringing of hands or gnashing of teeth. Perhaps the most significant development came on Thursday night, when Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins opted not to raise a fist, as he previously had done.
This helps fuel the notion that the issue may indeed be going away, and that in time the protests during the anthem will largely go unnoticed.