Thursday, May 24, 2018

Follow The Money: NFL Orders Players To Stand

The National Football League will fine teams if players on the field refuse to stand for the national anthem, the league said on Wednesday in a victory for U.S. President Donald Trump, who loudly demanded an end to such protests last year.

Reuters reports some NFL players knelt during the anthem to protest police shootings of unarmed black men, sparking a controversy as Trump criticized the players for being unpatriotic.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced on Wednesday a new policy that will fine teams if players on the field fail to stand during the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Players who choose not to stand may remain in the locker room until after the anthem is finished.

The NFL Players Association criticized the new policy, saying it was not consulted and it may issue a challenge should it violate the collective bargaining agreement.

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long said the owners’ decision was made out of concern for the NFL’s bottom line and fears that Trump would turn his political base against the league, America’s most popular professional sports organization.

The kneeling controversy rattled a $14 billion industry, and the new policy attempts to resolve a distraction for the owners, said Bob Dorfman, a sports marketing expert at Baker Street Advertising.

“For advertisers, football’s still a great buy, reaching a market - young males mostly. Ratings have dipped a little bit,” Dorfman said, adding the NFL was “still one of the strongest live events you can buy in television.”

The NFL's new policy requiring players to stand for the national anthem is similar to the one the NBA has been following for decades.

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