It looks like the NFL may have gotten the message. Or at least one of the messages. The one about forced patriotism, which they started back in 2009 when they began having players stand on the sideline during the playing of the National Anthem.
The NFL is now planning to go back to the ‘old’ way, keeping players in the locker room during the Anthem according to ESPN’s Jim Trotter.
I continue to hear from knowledgeable people that the league plans to keep players in the locker room next season during the playing of the National Anthem. https://t.co/Cs3ZSqefsC— Jim Trotter (@JimTrotter_NFL) January 18, 2018
Last season that display by the league was turned into a display by the players who used that time to protest racial profiling and police brutality.
What first started with Colin Kaepernick sitting and later — with the blessing of former Green Beret Nate Boyer — kneeling during the playing of the Anthem. The protest caused him to be summarily blackballed by every NFL team last season, but it was taken up by several other players.
The protest took on a new life when Donald Trump shouted at a rally in Huntsville Alabama that NFL owners should cut players who kneel “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out, he’s fired. He’s fired!” Trump exclaimed.
In response, there were protests across the league, with every NFL team reacting in some form. Most teams kneeled. Most of the Raiders’ players sat with their arms linked. One team, the Steelers, opted to just stay in the locker room.
The Raiders had plans to do the same, but those plans were upended by the different pre-game schedule for a primetime game.
Now the NFL seems to think the Raiders and Steelers had the right idea by keeping their players in the locker room. If you were hoping to get back to gameday being about just football, this will help.