As I was driving into work this morning, the topic of kneeling for the national anthem once again came up on sports talk radio. So, I started to think some more about the situation, which for the last few weeks I’ve largely been trying to avoid.
There seems to be little doubt at this point that the NFL owners simply would like the topic to disappear. As much as they don’t want to admit it, it’s hurting the bottom line for the conversation to continue focusing on pre-game activities, and the number of people who are outraged and/or actively avoiding the league over this topic seems to be at a minimum holding steady, if not growing.
At the same time, the owners also are clearly not pleased with a certain President sticking his nose into their business, and using it to rile up his base — otherwise they wouldn’t be out in force, kneeling with their players. And they also understand that simply voting in a new rule to force the players to stand would blow up in their faces. That move would only enrage just as many (if not more) NFL supporters on the other side of the aisle — not to mention the very real potential for damaging any positive relationship owners have with their own players.
In thinking about , I started trying to come up with a way that the owners could get what they want — the players to stand — without giving President Trump what he wants — credit for making it happen, and possibly actually enacting some good out of the whole situation.
And I actually stumbled on to an idea:
- the NFL owners should agree unanimously to donate a sizable amount of money — maybe a total of $1 million per week of the season, or maybe even $100,000 per owner per week of the season — to a fund or organization that is dedicated to reducing and eliminating social injustices and racial inequality. And this can’t be some dressed up deal where only a small percentage of the money actually ends up being directed to what it’s supposed to be directed toward.
- the league may even partner with the players — though the NFLPA, or in another fashion — to create the group — so long as it isn’t being created as just some sort of tax haven or as a way to reward a handful of players when they’re done playing (or even while they’re playing).
- the players, in exchange, agree to stand for the anthem. The agreement would include a caveat indicating that the amount donated would be decreased if any players do continue to sit or kneel — say $25,000 per player, per instance of not standing.
You might think the players aren’t getting much in this initially, but you have to realize that they claim they are kneeling to make a difference, to actually effect a change, and not just for attention. That’s what this accomplishes, an actual change that will hopefully make progress. They agree to not continue kneeling or sitting for the anthem — or they risk being the “bad guy” that is actually taking money away from efforts to impact the change they are looking for. It’s also an agreement that doesn’t take any money out of their actual pockets — meaning they’re not at risk of being fined by the league for non-compliance, like they are when they throw a football in the stands, or wear their socks wrong.
The owners in this system have to pay a hefty fee — but, in reality, it’s pocket change for them. And they actually kind of come out looking like the good guys, unlike how they look if they simply enacting a rule change to force standing for the anthem.
What say you, Zoneblitz faithful — think this idea might have some legs? Are there any changes you think would make it even more effective? Let us know in the comments!