Well the NFL decided to stir up a hornet’s nest this week by confirming a new rule when it comes to standing (or not) for the National Anthem and “respecting the American flag”.
Firstly, I love the patriotism shown by American’s and American sports by standing, hats off, hand on heart, and singing proudly for the Anthem before every game and each morning in school. I wish we did something similar in the UK but having Scottish people sing God Save The Queen, which is seen as an English Anthem, would have people up in arms – as would vice versa – and that’s not counting the Welsh and Irish. However, there’s something great about uniting under one banner and feeling our hearts swell with pride.
Secondly, free speech is a wonderful. The dictionary defines it as “the right to express any opinions without censorship or restraint“. Even without the first amendment, the dictionary definition is enough for many to realise that what the NFL has done is completely absurd and has undoubtedly brought it back to the forefront rather than leave it in the background.
So what does that mean for the New England Patriots? I think it means potential disruption to the players and division behind the scenes but I guess maybe no more than it has in the past already. It certainly means for fans, analysts and commentators that come opening day against the Texans, we’ll be playing count the number of players on the sidelines. We’ll be ready to interrogate the reasoning behind coming out to the field vs staying in the locker room. This tit for tat game, could last all season but hopefully by Halloween another horror story will have taken over our consciousness.
I fear former Patriot Chris Long said it best when he Tweeted “This is a fear of a diminished bottom line. These owners don’t love America more than the players demonstrating and taking real action to improve it.”
It’ll be an interesting spectacle but not one I’m particularly looking forward to…