Trump’s groundbreaking meeting with North Korea was canceled because “hostile” behavior on their part. Trump explained that this missed opportunity “is a tremendous setback for North Korea.” In related news, the NFL announced their new national anthem policy which, believe it or not, they claim to have thought about carefully. They have decided that players are not allowed to express themselves or their views in any way that does not include standing for the entire national anthem. (They do get the choice to wait in the tunnel off the field.) This new policy is a disgrace to the NFL for a number of reasons, some of which I’ll discuss here.
Please: don’t stop now! The news that the NFL is pledging $89 million over seven years to sponsor social justice work is heartening. When I last wrote about the NFL protests, I was dismayed by what I saw as a lack of direction. I wanted you, the players, to make specific demands of the NFL and society at large. The Players Coalition, led by Malcolm Jenkins and Anquan Boldin, has done just that, negotiating a plan for owners to donate millions of dollars every year, escalating from $5 million this year all the way up to $12 million from 2021 through 2023. And that’s just for national causes. On the local level, owners would donate $250,000 per year, with players matching that amount. This proposal from the NFL is a win. It is not perfect, and I will address some of its flaws below, but first it is crucial to acknowledge this victory. When Colin Kaepernick first sat for the anthem over a year ago, his prospects for effecting social change seemed slim. This proposal represents the culmination of protests from all of you, from all 30 teams across the league. It shows that you, our athletes, have the power to improve society. It shows that sports can make a difference. And it shows that the NFL is desperate to preserve its image.
Houston, your sports teams have a problem.
First, Houston Texans owner Bob McNair made a huge mistake nearly a month ago. His mistake, which came to light only last week, was referring to NFL players as “inmates,” as in, “we can’t have the inmates running the prison.” McNair realized his mistake and said he was sorry: “I apologize to anyone who was offended.”