Sports

NFL Players WILL Respect the Flag's Authoritah, Says Commissioner

Teams will now be fined if their employees don't show sufficient on-field respect during the National Anthem, because we live in a very serious country.

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||| South Park
South Park

Because nothing says "patriotism" quite like ordering people under penalty of a fine to stand up during the National Anthem, the taxpayer-soaking cajillionaires who run the National Football League have announced a new policy of fining any team caught having an employee sitting, kneeling, or acting disrespectfully on the field while "The Star-Spangled Banner" plays before a game.

"We want people to be respectful of the national anthem," explained NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "We want people to stand…and make sure they treat this moment in a respectful fashion. That's something we think we owe. [But] we were also very sensitive to give players choices."

Thus continues a controversy that began with then–San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sitting during the anthem in an August 2016 preseason game to protest police brutality; that continued that fall with various players kneeling, locking arms, and putting fists in the air; then nearly petering out to maybe a dozen anthem refuseniks until President Donald Trump told an Alabama rally last September, "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he's fired. He's fired!'"

Congratulations, America. ||| Sam Riche/TNS/Newscom
Sam Riche/TNS/Newscom

Excited by how such nakedly pointless culture-war baiting was getting his base "stirred up," the president piled more worms on the hook. He sent Vice President Mike Pence to attend (and showily walk out of) an Indianapolis Colts game that featured an offensive non-stander. He even dragged the controversy into his State of the Union Address. (In fairness, the state of our union is that we bicker endlessly over this kind of phony bullshit while our elected officials misuse billions and billions of our dollars, including on professional sports franchises.) The NFL, whose owners lean Republican and whose ceremonial accoutrements have long been suffused with militaristic displays of patriotism, has been agonizing over anthem etiquette ever since.

Under the new policy, players will have the option (which they enjoyed before 2009) of sitting the anthem out inside the locker room. Also, in addition to the league fining the employers of the star-spangled scofflaws, teams themselves will have the discretion of fining non-compliant players. Goodell surely hopes that such fraught solicitousness to White House feelings will be greeted as a stately compromise, and maybe players will indeed roll their eyes and get on with their lives.

But there's something pathetic and insecure about the whole exercise. The United States is a patriotic and religious country that (rightly!) loves its damn sports, especially the homegrown troika of football, baseball, and basketball. Enforcing that love through coerced rituals and Pentagon product placements is not a projection of strength; it's an expression of weakness. Saying "How high?" when a president says "Jump!" is behavior suitable for a royal subject, not an American citizen. Rewarding politicians for playing fan bases off of one another—unless it's Red Sox–Yankees, in which case the old Iran-Iraq rules apply—isn't cheeky-clever, it's creepy-vulgar.

Have some damned confidence, America, and stop listening to confidence men.

Now, for some postgame analysis, here's Ken White:

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  1. especially the homegrown troika of football, baseball, and basketball

    The first two came from England and the third was invented by a Canadian. A CANADIAN.

    1. Not true. American football was derived from Soccer and Rugby but it is an American invention. Baseball is as well. It can be traced to the English game of Rounders but it is a pretty tenuous connection.

      Yes, basketball was invented by a Canadian.

      1. Yes, except McGill played a role in helping to develop football.

        https://bit.ly/2KQQhaX

        “The McGill team traveled to Cambridge to meet Harvard. On May 14, 1874, the first game, played under “Boston” rules, was dominated by Harvard, which lead 3?0 after only 22 minutes when the game was ended.[1][5] The next day, the two teams played under “McGill” rugby rules to a scoreless tie.[1] The first game featured a round ball instead of a rugby-style oblong ball.[5] McGill used a bladder covered by leather instead of a rubber ball as did Harvard, which was much more difficult to kick.[6] This series of games represents an important milestone in the development of the modern game of American football”

        We Canadians are everywhere. More than Putin.

        You should see our role in early Hollywood!

        1. God damn. You people are a menace.

          I didn’t know that. How did you end up playing it with 12 men and three downs?

          1. 55 yard line too!

        2. Putin, poutine.
          meh

          1. Damn, it seems so obvious in hind sight.

          2. Putain.

        3. Ah, Rutgers and Princeton played the first college football game in 1869.

      2. However, that Canadian invented basketball in the US and stayed in the US.

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      Read more here,…. http://www.onlinereviewtech.com

  2. They can stay in the locker room, no? Article seems histrionic.

    1. Article seems histrionic.

      Commenter seems illiterate.

      1. Yes Hail, you are. But you don’t seem illiterate, you are illiterate. I think primitive, ignorant and profoundly stupid are the proper adjectives here in addition to illiterate.

        1. From the article:

          Under the new policy, players will have the option (which they enjoyed before 2009) of sitting the anthem out inside the locker room.

          1. Yes, that was my point. It seems like a fair compromise, and not worth the histrionics.

            You seem to be the one with trouble reading.

            1. The NFL wants to put on a show, and is *catering* to their Hate America First employees who don’t want to participate in the pro American portion of the show. Instead of simply firing them, they let them opt out.

              But even employers rights are thrown overboard when it time for Reason to virtue signal their Progressitarian bona fides.

    2. You’re new here, aren’t you?

      I’m guessing you’ve never heard the name “Shikha Dalmia” before, amirite?

      1. But this is a Welch post.

        I expect[ed] better from him.

        (I expect Dalmia to … manage complete sentences.

        But not to make arguments.)

        1. Hey now, Shikha makes arguments. Now logical arguments are a more questionable prospect for her.

          1. No. Shikha emotes.

        2. Now that Reason has gone Progressitarian, Welch is coming out of the Leftist closet.

    3. Yeah man. And when you say The Pledge in class then those kids that don’t wanna can go stand in the hall while its going down.

      1. Before argument culture, we used to call that compromise.

        1. Before the yahoos were appeased, there was no superstition in that pledge.

          1. Before “under God” was inserted it was still a fucking Pledge of Allegiance. Get that shit out.

            1. I don’t think Rev has a problem with the pledge of allegiance part; he just wants you to kiss HIS team’s ring, not the OTHER team’s ring.

              1. If you think that’s what the pledge is remotely about, than you should really educate yourself.

                1. “Then”……..

                  Damned squirrels.

                  1. What is the Pledge of Allegiance about if not a Pledge of Allegiance?

                    1. It isn’t allegiance to the president, bureaucrats, or other elected officials, or other government officials It’s a pledge tthe ideals and the very concept of the republic.

                      As it reads:

                      I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America,
                      and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God,
                      indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

                      Doesn’t say anything about fealty to the president or anything like that, does it?

                    2. Pledging allegiance to a nation and a flag is potentially more dangerous, because it’s fostering nationalism, and this “us versus them” mentality. So regardless of who is president, and whether you agree with their politics or not, you must pledge allegiance to the country, remain loyal, and wave that flag while we bomb other countries.

                      Sorry, most libertarians and intelligent people with critical thinking skills aren’t going to be loyal to our country when they betray us, keep us in endless wars or to encroach upon our liberties.

                      Fighting for liberty and justice, absolutely.
                      Pledging allegiance, not so much.

                    3. It is a pledge of allegiance to the ideals of America.

                      Not to any person or party.

                      Because that’s all America is. Ideals.

                      It’s not a race, culture, creed or tribe. It has none of the pre-human tropes that are at the base of other nations. The only thing that unites the USA is that set of ideals.

                      Instilling those ideals, and a respect for them, in their children is not fomenting nationalism.

                      Fomenting nationalism is the government requiring recitation and display of nationalistic slogans, propaganda and paraphernalia from the citizenry.

          2. So, you are not really a Reverend?

            1. He is an adherent to the cult of Progressive Orthodoxy.

              1. It’s not as though the Pledge of Allegiance was written by a socialist or anything.

                1. “This land is your land, this land is my land…”

                  Sounds suspiciously nationalistic coming from a Stalinist “anti-fascist.”

                  A song he wrote, BTW as a direct response to “God Bless America.”

      2. There were always Jehovah’s Witnesses around when i was in school. They sat through the Pledge and nobody gave a crap.

        1. “It’s a PLEDGE. Why do you need to say it more than one time?”

      3. When I was a rebellious kid and didn’t want to say The Pledge, I just stood silent. Wasn’t all that hard.

    4. “Conscience do cost” Butchie from The Wire

    5. Yes, they can stay in the locker room if they want to.

      Matt Welch is one of the biggest and most shamelessly disgusting liars you’ll ever see in your life.

  3. The actions of these players offended a large portion of the NFL’s customer base and cost them several million dollars. The customers had a right to be offended and take their money elsewhere as a result. That is free speech too. The NFL now has a right to tell them to knock it off and stop costing them money. It is really that simple.

    The only thing pathetic and insecure here is Matt Welch being unable to understand that not everyone agrees with him on this issue. The last thing anyone wants is to go to a ball game and have a political argument break out or have to listen to someone’s politics they don’t like. Matt may think arguing about politics is the greatest thing ever but most people disagree. Introducing politics into entertainment, and that is all the NFL is, ruins it. The NFL has a better product when it tells its employees to shut the fuck up and do their jobs. What is tiresome and pathetic is the desire to constantly inject politics into every situation.

    1. Introducing politics into entertainment, and that is all the NFL is, ruins it.

      The guy who refuses to endorse your loyalty oath ritual is not the one introducing politics.

      1. Yes he is. What is the point of doing that if not to make a political statement? Moreover, the people doing this say they are making a political statement.

        If you like it, fine. But other people don’t. They are under no obligation to agree with you or give a fuck what you think. And the NFL certainly is under no obligation to turn down their money to make people like you feel good.

        Basically, go fuck yourself. And you can tell me the same thing. Let the market decide who gets their way. And the market decided here that you won’t. Thems are the breaks.

        1. The people mandating the anthem are the ones introducing politics. These guys are responding with their own political statements

          1. Good for them. but the customers don’t like their statements. You seem to think people are under some obligation to want to hear your politics. They are not. For once you and Welch actually lost a culture war issue. You don’t seem to be taking it well. It is almost like you only like freedom when it goes your way or something.

            1. You seem to think people are under some obligation to want to hear your politics.

              You can always tell when Red Tony is angry because he resorts to his mind-reading act.

              You don’t seem to be taking it well

              LOL the guy telling people to “go fuck yourself” in every other comment in this thread says I’m not taking this well. Classic projection. Never change, Red Tony.

              1. I said you could go fuck yourself too. In the end here, what do you have a problem with other than the fact that the market says people with politics you don’t like get to speak and people with politics you do like don’t’?

                What is your beef here? And I am not upset at all. I am very happy and am enjoying watching the left lose a culture war fight for once. It is fucking awesome.

                1. Are you so excited about right-wing prospects that you envision returning creationism to classrooms, a new wave of race-targeting voter suppression, a resurrection of gay-bashing, and — dare Republicans dream for the big one? — requiring black men to lower their gaze in the company of white women?

                  1. No REv. But I do envision a world where morons like you imagine that those things are going on. And your misery that results will be wonderful.

                    1. John, Arty writes about it in his journal. By ‘journal’, I mean the walls of his room at the mental institution, and by ‘write’ I mean himscrawlimg his rantings with his own feces.

                  2. Lower their gaze? You mean stare at the white women’s tits? Hey, that’s our job too.

                  3. Your only two arguments are calling someone racist, or appealing to authority. You dress it up with verbosity and a catchphrase. But I don’t know if you ever actually even attempt to discuss or argue in some genuine way.

                    1. Don’t expect better from Artie. It’s been his schtick for 4+ years now.

          2. The people inclusing the anthem as part of their corporate image may be completely cynical and venal. That doesn’t change the fact that they are under no obligation (absent an employment contract saying otherwise) to put up with employees usbverting their platform for ‘speech’. Giving the payers the option of staying in the locker rooms is a nice touch. The NFL would be completely within their rights to say “While you are on the clock or wearing our uniform, you will limit you speech to approved messages only, because you will be seen as being endorsed by and representing us. Or we will fire your ass.”

            1. If they were performing in a play or an opera, you are correct. They need to speak from a script.

              The athletes are asked to appear to be unscripted, but voluntarily patriotic, in a specific form.

              The players did not invent the circumstance which requires them to volunteer a view of what is patriotic behavior before a game. It’s sensible that they would rather volunteer to express their own patriotic views. It’s also sensible that they would object to staying in the locker room instead, and that only those who volunteer to show a certain form of patriotism, be allowed to express it.

              They are being asked to perform as though they agree with something with which they don’t agree, and which has nothing to do with their function as athletes. Athletes are contracted to abide by certain moral behavior, but protesting the national anthem is not immoral.

      2. The who refuses to endorse the loyalty ritual doesn’t have to participate.

        No business is obligated to tolerate its employees disrespecting or offending its customers.

        If these players want to make a political statement, they should do it on their own time. Better still, they should do what the black players did that came before them and go out into the communities and try to make a difference.

        1. Yep. I have zero sympathy for these crybaby millionaire athletes. They have access and connections. I’m sure some network would televise it if they put to together some kind of activist march with a few hundred NFL players on their own time. Which would be way more productive than this kneeling bullshit.

    2. Introducing politics into entertainment, and that is all the NFL is, ruins it.

      Agreed. Time to ditch the anthem.

      1. The moment people don’t like the anthem sure. But as it is, they do. So, we won’t. So go fuck yourself and start your own league if you don’t like it. Or watch something else.

        1. It’s still politics. The anthem and pledge are national endorsements. It isn’t not politics just because you think a sufficient threshold of people agree.

          1. Sure it is politics. But it is politics that the customers like. Luckily it is politics I like as well. That it is politics Matt doesn’t like, just makes it all the more fun in some ways. Matt can just buck up and go with the changing standards of society and what the market demands.

            1. I agree. But I think it’s a meaningful distinction to make. Many people are saying “We don’t want politics in this” but the correct response for that would be to remove the anthem and other such things entirely.

              I think it’s important to be clear on what is actually being said.

            2. I think Matt would be a lot cooler with this if the owners weren’t getting huge taxpayer subsidies. I know I would.

              1. I don’t see why. The taxpayer subsidy has nothing to do with this one way or another. Matt is just pissed the wrong side won.

                1. Did you miss the part of this saga where the military was paying teams to include “patriotic” displays?

                  1. Any funds the military pays with come from taxpayers.

                  2. Pretty sure the NYT will print recruitment advertisements as well.

                    Being businesses and all…

                2. I hope your employer makes you recite the Quran every morning before you start work. Let us know how that works out.

                  1. One is nothing like the other, you fucking imbecile.

                    1. Keep telling yourself that you ignorant fuck!

                  2. “I hope your employer makes you recite the Quran every morning before you start work. Let us know how that works out.”

                    Were that their idea of how to attract and please customers I’d wish them well.

                    And find employment elsewhere.

                    What part of libertarianism don’t you get?

                    1. “What part of libertarianism don’t you get?”

                      That part I “get” very well! The part I don’t get is the hypocrisy spewing out of John’s typing fingers.

            3. Agree with you on this, John. If a large majority of the NFL’s customer base enjoys seeing traditional respect of the nation’s flag and a large paying advertiser, the US military, also wants it, the NFL can compel players to do so as a term of employment. The real problem is that professional sports players have become overpaid, self-absorbed prima donnas and forget that they are merely performers and their grossly inflated salaries are only made possible by viewing customers.

          2. Specifically, it’s paid for politics. Government throws a lot of money in the direction of the NFL.

      2. “Agreed. Time to ditch the anthem.”

        100%!
        If you want a heaping helping of jingoism, go round up your buddies for a JPS toot-along. Don’t ask me to put down the beer and stand up before you start the engines / throw the first pitch / etc.

      3. Are you telling me you’d buy tickets or watch the NFL’s commercials if they ditched the anthem?

        (I mean, I wouldn’t either way – which is one reason I don’t expect the NFL to give a goddamn what I think.)

      4. I’ve always found it weird that Americans sing the anthem before every game of domestic sport, where as most other countries only sing it during international matches.

        But then again you play “world series” with only american teams, stand up and sing a song while having a “stretch”, and allow tv timeouts so ESPN can play some god dammed adds.

        For all the great things America has given the world, the way you present your sports in not one of them.
        11 mins of action shouldn’t take 3 hours. I’ve got more important shit to do.

        1. yeah because 90+ minutes of people standing around on a soccer field and maybe 30 seconds of actual scoring threats weaved within that is so exciting. Soccer is by far the most boring sport in the world not named Cricket.

          1. Perhaps, but only because car racing and ‘rasslin are not sports.

            1. Man, there’s just nothing you aren’t wrong about, is there?

          2. Cricket and baseball are pretty much equivalent in the boring stakes. I have been to both.
            A test match in cricket is 5 fucken days long and usually ends in a draw…… but you can consume a lot of beer in five days of summer sun and summer dresses so its not all bad. A close one day game can be quite exciting in the last half hour, and a 20/20 match is 3 hours of dudes trying their best to hit 6’s (home runs).

            Football (Soccer) is one of those interesting sports. I wouldn’t consider myself a fan (being a colonial I’m a rugby union guy) but by far the best sporting event I have ever been to is a football match. 40 thousand people singing is something you cannot resist. The excitement comes in waves, long periods of tedious boredom, topped off with a moment of brilliance that echos through the stadium like a gun shot. It’s quite extraordinary.

            I haven’t been to an ice hockey, NBA, or Nascar event yet but they are on the list next time I’m over your way. I love me some playoff basket ball and motor sport.

          3. John is right about that. I can’t believe people watch a game that can literally end with a score of zero to zero.

        2. But then again you play “world series” with only american teams

          I guess the Bluejays are chopped liver? Might be if they go the way of the Expos.

          1. Lol nor are the NBA’s Raptors.
            But playing your neighbour doesn’t really count.
            The Australian NRL isn’t the Rugby League World Cup because the New Zealand Warriors play in it.

          2. American teams with about a third of the players from Latin America.

          3. Last I checked, Canada was still part of North American

        3. American football is like chess with concussions and therefore can be exciting. Baseball, I agree, is boring as shit. Soccer is even more boring, but for some fucking reason it’s the biggest sport on the planet by far and people kill and fight over it.

          1. They kill and fight over it because there is nothing else to do at a soccer game except get drunk and start a riot. And yeah, American football is an amazingly complex and interesting game. It is a thousand times more nuanced than soccer or baseball.

            1. I agree that American football is a very interesting game and one that I have watched quite a lot of for someone who isn’t American. I do actually understand the game apart from some of the more obscure rules. I like it from a conceptual point of view, its just how it has been packaged that I struggle with.

              To me sport is exciting when the athletes are pushed to the edge of their abilities and take a step further. Pushing through pain and exhaustion to do something spectacular. That’s why legends are made in the NBA playoffs, that’s why World Cup Rugby stops nations.

              Honestly, I would love American Football if there was only one set of players who played both offence and defence with a limited number of substitutions allowed during the game. They didn’t stop play every 20 seconds. They relied more on the talent and flair of the players on the field to make the right decisions in the moment than the coaching staff on the side line. And the referees didn’t throw those dammed coloured handkerchiefs in the air like girls.

              1. that’s why World Cup Rugby stops nations

                not this one

              2. Twenty seconds gets your goat? Basketball is ten times worse, especially come playoffs. Add to that there really is no season – just a relentless monotony to fill the void for bookies in the space left when football stops. Absent gambling, I don’t think basketball would ever be a “pro” sport at all, disappearing from the landscape after the college level.

                1. I find basketball more exciting than either football or baseball. A game that can end 121-122 in the last second? I like football as well, but most games are not as close. And those guys deserve every penny they earn.

                  Tennis would be next because it’s relentless and strategic. Boxing has to be the toughest. I can’t imagine taking that kind of pounding for an hour and still be able to strategize.

            2. Soccer is like golf in that it is only interesting if you have actually played it.

              That so much of the world is or has been so dirt poor to the point where all they can afford is flat ground and one round ball pretty much means all they have played is soccer.

              Which explains why soccer is the world sport.

        4. True, and a big reason I’ve become an AFL (“footy”) junky. More action per minute than any sport hitherto mentioned.

    3. Nobody is saying that the players right to free speech is violated. Matt and Ken White are simply pointing out the hypocrisy here. Conservatives are patriots and eschew political correctness at nearly every turn. But when you disrespect the flag or the anthem they turn into precious little snowflakes that need their safe spaces to avoid being offended.

      “What is tiresome and pathetic is the desire to constantly inject politics into every situation.”

      For every liberal who advocates boycotting supporters of the NRA there is a conservative who advocates boycotting the NFL over this issue.

      The NFL has every right to do what they did. There’s no doubting that. The fact that they had to is the point here. It would be nice if both sides laid off of injecting politics into every situation. If you would have just ignored Kaepernick in 2016, the problem would have likely gone away.

      1. It is one thing to boycott something over positions unrelated to the product. That is stupid. But that is not what is going on here. If people had decided to boycott the NFL because what its players did off the field, I would agree with you. But that is not what happened here. This was on the field and directly affected the fan experience. And the fans have a right to object to it.

        The bottom line is your side lost for once. The market spoke and the wrong side won. If you don’t like the anthem and the politics of everyone standing, don’t watch the NFL. It is really that simple. You and Matt and those like you have happily told everyone else they have to accept shit they don’t like because your side won. Well, it didn’t work out that way this time. It sucks to be you I guess. Go watch the new league that is coming out next year, though I bet they won’t let people protest the anthem either.

        1. My side? You mean personal liberty?

          Conservatives have been shown to be just as snowflaky as the liberals they detest. Me, Matt, and those like us don’t really care, we’re just enjoying the show.

          1. Then if you don’t care, shut the fuck up and stand for the anthem. And I am not snowflakey at all. I am just gloating. It is fabulous to listen to Matt whine about having to put up with shit he doesn’t like. The same guy who thinks Facebook censoring political content it doesn’t like is a stupid thing to be upset about is now writing a whole article about the horrors of the NFL telling its players to stand for the anthem.

            Again, just shut up and stand for the anthem because that is how it is done. If you don’t like it, don’t go.

            1. “Again, just shut up and stand for the anthem because that is how it is done. If you don’t like it, don’t go”

              How authoritarian of you.

              1. Why is it authoritarian? No one makes you go to the game. You only think it is authoritarian because you think anything that isn’t to your liking is authoritarian. Again, the market spoke and you lost. That is how freedom and free markets work. You have just never experienced it and don’t understand that it could ever work in a way you don’t like. It is a good experience for you.

            2. Evidently, “owning the libs” is one of John’s core principles.

              1. So, the people that like the Anthem can’t have their way Jeff? Why can’t the NFL cator to tastes you don’t like? Again, no one makes you go to the games.

          2. Both sides are complete snowflake douches, everyone’s panties are in a bunch, and no one owns a damned mirror. I’m talking to the man in the mirror. It’s so funny watching both sides claim the other side is guilty of the same things they themselves are. The complete lack of self-awareness and the ease in which both sides get emotional, fearful and offended is astonishing.

          3. “Conservatives have been shown to be just as snowflaky as the liberals they detest. Me, Matt, and those like us don’t really care, we’re just enjoying the show.”

            Why does a libertarian care one way or another how an employer tell their employees how to act? NFL owners voted to tell their employees to stop this, what else is their to say about this?

        2. I like the NFL and I love the anthem. Just not together.

          1. So not like Reese’s?

    4. . . . and cost them several million dollars

      It didn’t cost them anything. Sure, some people made some loud noises and they got some bad press – no one failed to buy a ticket because of this. No sponsors pulled ads because of this.

      The NFL is, like any large corporation dependent upon government largess (how do you think they get to maintain a monopoly position when, in any other industry, they’d have been broken up forcibly already?) and advertising, running scared.

      1. “It didn’t cost them anything. Sure, some people made some loud noises and they got some bad press – no one failed to buy a ticket because of this.”

        Oh ok, you’re an idiot who spouts off. I personally know people who didn’t renew season tickets.

      2. “no one failed to buy a ticket because of this.”

        No matter how many of them said so, and no matter how much lower attendance may have been*?

        Look, we can’t assume all the delta is because of “Teh Kneeling!!!”, sure; plenty of other factors exist that are significant in NFL attendance that have no political component.

        But to assert it had no effect at all seems untenable.

        (* Note also that NFL’s “tickets sold” is not actually real sales, let alone attendance.

        They’ve been inflating that metric since 2005.

        I’m not sure anyone knows if real attendance is significantly down, outside of the NFL, who naturally aren’t talking.)

        1. Is most of their revenue from ticket sales? Or advertising, merchandising, etc. They also get hefty government subsidies.

          I didn’t notice the Superbowl lacked attendance. Or advertisers.

        2. A major way they inflate the metric is how they establish available seats. For the most extreme example, read about how the NFL counted seats in the LA Coliseum when the Raiders were there; it was impossible for the Raiders ever to sell out the Coliseum, so LA football fans could not get out-of-area broadcasts.

          All I know about attendance is what I could see on TV: numbers of empty seats where once the stadia were filled. Happened once, who knows? Happened week after week, something was being said to the NFL and for some bizarre reason the NFL paid at least a little attention.

          Not that it really matters economically. Butts in the seat mean little to NFL income. Consider that the league just signed a 5-year, $2.5 billion deal with Verizon to live-stream out-of-area games. It’s a perception issue not really an economic one: those empty seats really look bad on the TV screen.

        3. TIcket sales and viewership have been declining for years previous to this.

          1. I’m not sure you can make the case this anthem stuff had nothing to do with it. Owners do not appear to want to deal with this headache for a reason and I assume it’s economic.

    5. Matt manages to be civil when he sits through all the vile nsane shit Vill Maher amd the rest of his panel of evil spew out when Matt is a guest on Real Time. But he has to be a snotty prick about this.

      1. No enemies to the…

    6. The NFL has been paid by the Department of Defense to put on patriotic displays like flyovers and reunions of military families for years now. This is stealth marketing to ensure a steady supply of cannon fodder for our current and future wars. The players brought their own politics into this, but they hardly “introduced” politics.

    7. Plenty of people are turning away from the NFL because they are overly jingoist. If this was a decision based on money it may be a stupid one.

  4. And it is more than a bit ironic to see reason bitching about this when it runs a “my God can’t we get the nationalism and militarism out of the NFL and stop those military flybys” article every couple of years. You want politics out of the NFL too. You just are not a large enough portion of the fan base to make it happen. The people who didn’t like the protests are.

    1. A blind man could have seen this coming a mile away.

      The NFL was hemorrhaging viewers, and despite the Media spin to the contrary (which included Reason) the league knew it was primarily due to the protests.

      The NFL finally figured out where its bread was buttered, and it wasn’t by catering to overpaid cop-hsting prima donnas.

      1. I still think that the largest loss of viewership is from changing demographics, and the rise of other forms of entertainment more than anything else. They will probably try to solidify within a certain fanbase (maybe conservative, maybe something else) but we will probably continue to see a slide.

        1. The numbers are pretty clear. They dropped off a cliff last year. IT wasn’t just a slow slide because the yutes don’t like football. The whole thing cost them a lot of money. There is no denying that.

          And they clearly think it did. Maybe they are wrong. But I think they probably know a lot better than Nick does.

          1. But it is also mirroring a very similar drop in overall network viewership. I wish I could find something more up to date, but this goes through Q2 of last year at least.

            In demo we have seen a similar drop of about 10-15% of viewership from one year to the next. This is consistent with the percentage drop we’ve seen in NFL viewership. Perhaps all of it is politics, I don’t know cause. But it the only point is it’s a broader phenomenon.

            And they clearly think it did. Maybe they are wrong. But I think they probably know a lot better than Nick does.

            They probably think it contributes. I very much doubt they think it fully explains the decline. Or else they don’t know what to do. This is a difficult time for all traditional media.

            1. I would not say that it completely explained the decline. But it played a significant role in it and cost them a lot of money. I don’t see how you can deny that.

              1. I’m not denying that it played a part, some people probably stopped watching, though I have no idea as to how much is attributable to it.

                Bearded Spock said that the loss was primarily due to this. So I gave another very possible explanations, and even showed some data that shows the loss in NFL viewership mirrors the loss in broadcast television viewership at large, both in time period and magnitude.

                1. No no no no BUCS you have it all wrong. On the one hand, conservatives hate PC culture and voted for Donald Trump so he would put a stop to that sort of thing. On the other hand, good patriotic Americans (who also just so happen to be conservatives) used their collective economic clout to force the NFL into submitting to the Patriotically Correct position and punishing players who don’t conspicuously display their patriotism visibly enough.

                2. No no no no BUCS you have it all wrong. On the one hand, conservatives hate PC culture and voted for Donald Trump so he would put a stop to that sort of thing. On the other hand, good patriotic Americans (who also just so happen to be conservatives) used their collective economic clout to force the NFL into submitting to the Patriotically Correct position and punishing players who don’t conspicuously display their patriotism visibly enough.

                3. BUCS

                  You are correct when you note that the NFL, like most pro sports, is having trouble attracting new, younger viewers. This, however, is not what caused the NFL to cave.

                  The NFL caved because the protests offended the NFL’s core audience, middle-aged white trump voters, the ones who really, really like football and who are willing to spend lots of money to watch it

                  If you’re running a business and only selling 40,000 widgets a year, the last thing you want to do is piss off the customers who buy 30,000 of those widgets in an attempt to appeal to those who buy the rest.

                  1. I just want to point out that the NBAs ratings are doing fine and increasing. Traditional network media is dying but sports are different, people don’t watch them on Netflix or watch reruns. What is happening to the NFL very like has to do with his protest stuff mixed in with people like me who never really cared about football to begin with stop watching it (I think my type is becoming more common). What is more important is anyone’s guess but I would assume the NFL focus grouped this and decided this lost them money or would lose them money so they banned it.

      2. Pretty sure the biggest reason fewer folks are buying tickets is that Millennials just aren’t as into football as Gen X and Baby Boomers.

        1. That is nice, but the people who actually own this business disagree. If they didn’t, they would not be banning these protests. Maybe you know more about their business than they do, but I really doubt it.

          1. That’s nice.

      3. Of course, the fans that were fine with the kneeling would have kept coming to the games as long as the players weren’t prohibited from kneeling. I wouldn’t necessarily expect it, but it would be interesting if the attendance fails to improve because, while the fans who wanted everybody to stand may return, the ones who supported the dissenters may now initiate their own boycott. If that does happen, it may well be spun as “since the NFL did too little, too late, they haven’t won back their patriotic fans.” Which might also be true.

        In short, this might not be the good business move that the League thinks it is.

  5. So can anyone decide to protest during their employers’ hours without facing any repercussions?

    1. Way to miss the point.

      1. Really? How so? What is the point other than Matt being butthurt that protests he agreed with cannot be done on their employers’ time?

        1. His comment is only relevant if Matt argued that the NFL doesn’t have the right to punish players for political statements. And Matt didn’t argue that.

          1. What is Matt arguing then? That people are wrong to be offended and not watching the NFL? Where does Matt get off telling people what they can and cannot do or say?

            1. What is Matt arguing then?

              He’s calling you a hypocrite. Against political correctness when the liberals practice it. For political correctness when the conservatives practice it (although you wouldn’t dare call it that).

              1. So, if I disagree with Colin Kapernick and think it is wrong to not stand for the anthem, I am not allowed to express that disagreement? I don’t give a shit what Kapernick thinks or does off the field. But why am I obligated to pay money to hear him make his statement at a football game?

                PC would be me demanding that Kapernick be fired for having the wrong opinion and saying it off the field when it doesn’t affect my relationship with him or the NFL. But that is not what is happening her. It is not PC to Say “I don’t like this product because it comes with a political message I don’t like”.

                What if one of the players wore a White Pride sticker on his uniform? Would the NFL be wrong to tell him to take it off? It seems to me by your logic they would, even though not doing so would cost them millions. Would the people offended by it just be PC hypocrites.

                Again, you are just pissed off the other side stood up for once. That is all that is going on here. You are the hypocrite.

                1. “So, if I disagree with Colin Kapernick and think it is wrong to not stand for the anthem, I am not allowed to express that disagreement?”

                  No, go right ahead. But then don’t turn around in the next breath and bash liberals for being “whiny SJW snowflakes”.

                  1. No, go right ahead. But then don’t turn around in the next breath and bash liberals for being “whiny SJW snowflakes”.

                    Why the hell not? All you are saying here is “I don’t your beliefs”. Well too bad. And the SJWs are demanding people be fired for things that have nothing to do with their jobs. So, it is not the same.

                    You really seem to have a problem with other people expressing opinions you don’t like. You need to work on that.

                    1. Why the hell not?

                      Let’s see, maybe it’s because

                      YOU ARE A WHINY SJW SNOWFLAKE YOURSELF

                    2. Jeff,

                      Thanks for admitting you don’t have an answer and I won the argument.

                    3. ^Bingo. Exactly.

                    4. Jeff, you’re the proggy here. We get it. You don’t like America, and spit on any patriotic sensibilities.

              2. Well Leo, then Matt is wrong, and a bitchy little asshole for saying that. No one started rioting and raging at or outside the games. They just refused to watch or buy merchandise.

                1. Nowhere is Matt saying that the conservatives are as bad as the people rioting in BLM or antifa. Matt is saying that it’s equally politically correct to demand flag worship in this country as to demand professors to not say something offensive.

                  When the conservatives in this country see someone refuse to worship the flag, they get all butthurt like a precious little snowflake. Pence was so offended that he had to leave a football game (having already presumably paid for his ticket). Then there are the constant calls to fine or even fire people who don’t conform to the flag-worship requirements. If you can’t see the parallels to college snowflakes walking out of classes and demanding discipline for professors who don’t conform to their own PC-speech requirements, then you’ll probably never see my and Matt’s point of view on this topic.

          2. Just what grand statement, argument or position was Matt defending?
            I detected none.

            1. I detected none.

              You don’t say.

              1. Then enlighten us and tell us what Matt’s point is beyond pissing and moaning that his side lost?

                1. I’m starting to think it was to get you wound up.

                2. Gee, John, maybe this is Matt Welch’s point:

                  But there’s something pathetic and insecure about the whole exercise. The United States is a patriotic and religious country that (rightly!) loves its damn sports, especially the homegrown troika of football, baseball, and basketball. Enforcing that love through coerced rituals and Pentagon product placements is not a projection of strength; it’s an expression of weakness. Saying “How high?” when a president says “Jump!” is behavior suitable for a royal subject, not an American citizen. Rewarding politicians for playing fan bases off of one another?unless it’s Red Sox?Yankees, in which case the old Iran-Iraq rules apply?isn’t cheeky-clever, it’s creepy-vulgar.

                  1. Yes Jeff, his point is that he doesn’t like the politics of playing the anthem. Well tough shit. The NFL customers do. Again, he is just butt hurt that his side lost a culture war battle for once. As Spock says below, back that cake Matt.

                    1. “his point is that he doesn’t like the politics of playing the anthem.”

                      Which is totally not what he wrote.

                    2. Yes it is. The words are right there. I don’t know what else to tell you.

                  2. Nothing whatsoever to do with what Trump wants, it’s what the customers want.

                  3. Jeff, bow out of this discussion. You can’t comprehend what’s involved here. So just stop.

      2. That’s the whole point, dipshit.

    2. Anyone who’s job requires them to take part in mandatory political exercises? Sure.

      1. What part of they can stay in the locker room do you not understand? They aren’t being forced do jack shit. Their employer doesn’t want them pissing off some of the customers while on the clock. Like pretty much every business that wants to stay in business. It’s really that simple.

      2. What part of they can stay in the locker room do you not understand? They aren’t being forced do jack shit. Their employer doesn’t want them pissing off some of the customers while on the clock. Like pretty much every business that wants to stay in business. It’s really that simple.

      3. Like the cast of Hamilton?

        You think every person involved in that production supports what they’ve done? You really think nobody chose to keep quiet in order to keep their paycheck?

        Yeah, sure.

  6. On the Left: PC stands for Politically Correct
    On the Right: PC stands for Patriotically Correct

    1. That’s just two different flavors of political correctness.

      1. Ding ding ding!

          1. Acknowledgement

            1. It’s all i’ve ever wanted.

            2. That’s X’s favorite thing!!!

      2. No X it isn’t. You don’t understand patriotism. A lot of libertarians don’t. They just use libertarianism as a vehicle that justifies being a feckless, selfish shit, who stands for nobody and nothing. To show respect or reverence for actual American principals, the concept of the republic, the constitution, and those who bled and some who died to make it happen, or protect it, is beyond them.

        Many here who hold your point of view are this way.

        1. And if we have to crush those exercising the rights that other fought and died for, then that’s just the cost of patriotism.

          1. Who is getting ‘crushed’? Are you saying that setting standards for employees in a private organization is ‘crushing’ them?

            Bottom line is that more and more customers are passing on the NFL’s product because those poor crushed players are spitting on them and being disrespectful. NFL customers don’t owe these pampered millionaire athletes a damn thing. You seem to think that they do.

            If the players don’t like it then they are welcome to seek other employment. I’m sure there are other avenues of employment in much better countries around the world that will pay a bunch of barely literate athletes with their particular skill set comparable money or better.

            1. More customers are passing on the NFL because they are tired of the fascist military displays.

  7. The NFL is trying to appease a significant portion of their customer base who did not want to see their entertainment hijacked for irrelevent political grandstanding.

    Whether this is a good way to do it is another issue.

    1. It is. In every business, employees must learn to tow the line. I’ve never seen a job where people can get away with this kind of behavior at work.

  8. This is very disappointing. American police are violent racists who terrorize black and brown people on a daily basis, and conservatives are upset because some woke athletes peacefully draw attention to this problem? Can’t believe the NFL caved to the pressure.

    It looks like the preferred athletic organization of the socially conscious is now the WNBA, which has pledged to donate a portion of ticket sales to Planned Parenthood. I encourage all supporters of reproductive rights to start watching WNBA games if you’re not already doing so.

    #StandWithPP

    1. TFW you can’t tell if it’s super-spot-on perfectly executed mockery, or 100% serious sincerity with no self-awareness at all.

      1. Neither. It’s a boring, lazy, obvious parody.

        1. The PP angle is not obvious. Some of us appreciate it

      2. What difference, at this point, does it make?

    2. “It looks like the preferred athletic organization of the socially conscious is now the WNBA, which has pledged to donate a portion of ticket sales to Planned Parenthood.”
      ‘Socially Conscious” = hoping that they are pandering to their audience. But at least it’s not a tax, so I’m all for it.

      “I encourage all supporters of reproductive rights to start watching WNBA games if you’re not already doing so.”
      Yep, wymyn who hope to get free birth control are gonna flock to the tube when, raising ratings from .005% to .0051%

      1. But they’re boring. Can’t I just say that I do? Or maybe if I want to support Planned Parenthood, just give them the money myself?

    3. #FreeAbortionsAtCenterCourt
      #HereComesTheFetusCannon

  9. NFL Players WILL Respect the Flag’s Authoritah, Says Commissioner

    Yes, they agreed to that in collective bargaining.

  10. And bullshit that Kaepernick was protesting police brutality back in August ’16. He was pouting because he was about to be demoted to the bench.

    1. I have yet to find an authoritative source of how much of his own money he donated to what charities to help the oppressed minorities.
      Sniff, sniff; smells like bullshit.

      1. If he was indeed protesting police brutality, what would make him stop? Would he just keep protesting until the NFL makes sure that nobody ever gets shot by the police? Because that might take awhile.

  11. The flag waving can get ridiculous, fair enough. But the NFL is a business. If their customers supported the kneelers the NFL would have had to go along with that too. But I suspect the people supporting the kneelers are largely people who wouldn’t be caught dead at an NFL game.

    It’s no different from businesses dropping ties with the NRA because they have a lot of lefty customers putting pressure on them. I might think that’s fucked up but it isn’t my decision.

    1. ^ ^ ^

      Bingo

    2. But I suspect the people supporting the kneelers are largely people who wouldn’t be caught dead at an NFL game.

      I bet you Matt has never been to an NFL game in his life and couldn’t name more than ten teams in the league. But somehow the league is supposed to cater to his tastes and ignore the tastes of those who do patronize it.

      1. Speaking of NFL games, this year, my wife and I want to get to two places we haven’t been, Arrowhead and Jerry’s world. I never was able to get to Texas stadium.

        For years, we have thought about the combo of the Red River Rivalry on the Saturday and a Cowboys game on Sunday. It hasn’t worked out.

        We like doing the college / NFL combos, but, for a lot of the venues, its not workable. You end up doing things like Miami of Ohio at Cincinnati on Saturday and Paul Brown stadium on Sunday or Yale at Penn on Saturday and the Eagles on Sunday or the Big House on Saturday and Ford Field on Sunday (all of which we have done).

        1. If you can go to OU Texas go. But it isn’t played at JerryWorld. It is played at the old Cotton Bowl, which is better. You get to go to the state fair as well as the game. I can’t stand either school, but even I admit it is one of the best experiences in sports. They split the stadium down the middle at the 50 yard line. You really have to experience how much those fan bases hate each other in person to appreciate it. It is a freak so. Absolutely go if you can.

          And Arrowhead is in my home town. It is along with Green Bay, the best atmosphere in the NFL. More of a college atmosphere. Absolutely go.

          1. Agree on Green Bay. The old Mile High Stadium was an experience as well.

            Notre Dame has an awesome game day atmosphere. Michigan as well.

            Regarding KC, we would do a Royals game on the Friday or Saturday and do the Chiefs on Sunday.

            My wife always wears the colors of the home team we are seeing plus a Patriots or Red Sox hat or scarf.

            1. Royals Stadium is great. But they generally do not schedule baseball and football on the same weekend. It clogs the parking lot too much. You might have to come in on a Wednesday or a Thursday or maybe stay over a Monday to do that. The only time they ever have a football game and baseball game on the same weekend is when the Royals make the playoffs and it can’t be avoided. It is why the Chiefs always start the season with the majority of its first six games on the road.

      2. Do you suppose he might be upset because even though he couldn’t name ten teams in the NFL, he is still obliged to support it through taxes?

      3. I bet you Matt has never been to an NFL game in his life and couldn’t name more than ten teams in the league. But somehow the league is supposed to cater to his tastes and ignore the tastes of those who do patronize it.

        Now I finally understand why football is so fucking stupid: it caters to John’s tastes.

  12. Bake That Cake, Welch.

    1. Bingo. The market and freedom are only supposed to work in ways Matt likes.

    2. *slow clap*

    3. Oh my God, that’s different for reasons

    4. Is Matt Welch in favor forcing bakers to bake cakes? I was not aware of that. Interesting, if true.

      1. I like how we’re pretending like the writers at Reason were not all in on Johnson and accused others who mocked Johnson’s “interesting” positions on religious liberty (who remembers the burka ban proposal?) as “concern trolls”. This is so cute

        1. I see. You weren’t saying that Matt Welch explicitly supports forcing bakers to bake cakes, just that he supported Gary Johnson. Hmm.

          Now, Welch could very well explicitly support forcing bakers to bake cakes they don’t want to bake, but I’ve never seen him say that.

          1. It is a perfectly reasonable criticism. Grow up.

            1. Maybe the criticism could be made more clearly? I was given the impression that Welch supports forcing people to bake cakes. I was looking for clarification because there is the possibility that he could, but I wasn’t sure. So, if you’re butthurt by that, maybe take your own advice?

          2. Matt regularly shows up at the homes of bakers in the dead of night and forces them into their kitchen to bake him marijuana cakes for Bill Maher so that he will keep getting invited to go on Real Time.

      2. No, and to their credit, the rest of the Reason staff do not wish to see the government force Christians to bake gay cakes if they don’t want to.

        However, most of them are perfectly willing to allow the market to do the dirty work for them, by forcing Christians to choose between sticking by their principles or staying in business.

        Well, the NFL just made the same choice; Welch is just upset his ox was gored.

  13. Dear Owners: Your employees *will* stand. Under penalty of League permission to raise your prices even higher.

    Love, King Roger.

  14. The real solution would be to stop playing the national anthem before football games like it was some damned patriotic indoctrination. About the only people who got anything out of this are the politicians, because all they wanted was for us to yell back and forth in the first place. The NFL look incompetent yet again. The players, who claimed to care passionately about an issue wound completely obscuring what they supposedly meant. The rest of us are left screaming about how it’s disrespectful to the flag to actually exercise our conscience in our own way, or how the NFL can’t tell their employee’s how to conduct themselves in the workplace…in other words, both sides were interested in winning, rather making sense.

    Well, at least the Pats lost the Super Bowl.

    1. The customers like the anthem. The real solution is to keep it as it is because that is what makes the most money.

      1. You really think they play the National Anthem because of customer demand? Customers DON’T like what they see as disrespect of the National Anthem. No Anthem, no disrespect.

        1. I do. Imagine if they stopped. People would have fit. They all went nuts and stopped watching over Kapernick not standing. What do you think they would do if they stopped playing it? The NFL and every other sport plays the anthem out of fear and necessity.

          1. Good enough reason for me.

    2. I believe playing the anthem begore a game was something that started during WWII (WWI?) and just became entrenched in the culture from then on (at leadt it was for hockey).

      1. Yeah, this is one of those “nurture over nature” things. You grew up being pressured into standing for the flag/pledge/anthem under penalty of getting your ass whooped, so it eventually became second nature for you to stand, and expect everyone else to join in. Then when you see someone not joining in out of protest, you want them to get their ass whooped (or at least fired). You may state the usual “because soldiers” reasoning, but don’t pretend at least part of it is because of the authoritarian conditioning you received in your youth.

        I’ll stand for the pledge/anthem purely out of pride for my country, but I won’t get triggered over someone that doesn’t play along, whether they are protesting police brutality or just being a bratty nonconformist. You do you.

    3. The playing of the national anthem has become badly overblown. It used to be a simple ritual, a tradition that was always followed but wasn’t a big deal to anybody. It was the sort of thing where even if you weren’t overly patriotic you didn’t make a fuss; sort of like bowing your head when you’re a dinner guest in someone’s home and they say grace.

      But I’m an old fart who doesn’t believe “the personal is political” which puts me out of step.

      1. But I’m an old fart who doesn’t believe “the personal is political” which puts me out of step

        No, it makes you sane and reasonable, a “live and let live” type, a “you leave me alone and I leave you alone” type.

        The personal is personal.

        1. LOL, I do see it as sane and reasonable but I find that view under attack quite often. You can’t just tolerate things; you have to “celebrate” them or else you’re a Nazi or a terrorist sympathizer or whatever.

          1. I don’t disagree with your sentiment. Of course, the same can be said of many fans reactions to players kneeling. There’s no reason they shouldn’t just shrug it off and enjoy the game. They have every right to not watch, but it’s not that people don’t want politics in their football, it’s that they don’t want to see politics they disagree with.

            1. “… it’s that they don’t want to see politics they disagree with.”
              Nope.
              It is that when you see someone, who you are supporting with your money, disrespect that which you respect, you feel the disrespect is directed at you.
              Why would you spend your money to support something, that allows you to be disrespected?

      2. 100% yes.

    4. “The real solution would be to stop playing the national anthem before football games…”

      Do you honestly think the owners never thought about that approach?

      Do you suppose maybe they considered it and decided that would prove a greater PR fiasco than tolerating the kneeling?

      Me? I don’t know for sure that is what the owners thought, but I do believe they considered all the options, and also know their customers better than I do.

  15. Everyone is lame in this story.

    Sporting events are not the place for activism. Imagine you going to work and annoying your coworkers because of your beliefs or activism. How would that go down?

    Kaepernick was leveraging his fame by way of the NFL for his own purposes; something the NFL didn’t even benefit from.

    He could have done all that on his own time in my view. No one wants to go to a football game and be lectured. It’s no different if I go watch a singer and he decides to go all politics on me. I hate that being blindsided by that shit. Sing for me and give an anecdotal story and move on. Especially given how much tickets cost these days.

    At least the shithead Steely Dan have the decency to warn you in advance. So I won’t go.

    1. Is there gas in the car? Yes there’s gas in the car.

    2. It’s no different if I go watch a singer and he decides to go all politics on me.

      Went to go see They Might Be Giants in DC recently. Dude started yapping about Scott Pruitt, ffs. Like, really, dude? I think he could tell the audience was sick of hearing about that shit every day so it didn’t last long. Maybe he thought DC people never want to stop hearing about politics.

    3. Kaepernick WAS leveraging his fame, and in this way, he’s won.

      1. Has he though? Not sure.

        I guess we’ll wait to see with his lawsuit.

  16. It is funny. When market pressure goes towards something reason likes, it is totally okay. When it is religion and the sacred gays reason is totally down with it.

    But there’s a second reason not to wring your hands too much over nonviolent social pressure: That freedom goes both ways. It might seem intolerable to conservatives that progressives can choose to get people fired for professing traditional beliefs and that prestigious universities can choose to discriminate against Christian applicants. But it seems equally intolerable to many progressives that a florist or photographer should get to decline to work at a gay wedding, a sidewalk preacher should have the right to publicly proclaim the dangers of casual sex, and a conservative business owner should be able to decide not to provide contraception coverage to her employees.

    If people of faith are allowed to make choices based on their values, the same has to go for their secular counterparts. As Eberstadt writes, “one’s liberty isn’t safe until everyone else’s is protected.” She’s right?even when it leads to unpleasant outcomes.

    https://reason.com/archives/201…..crosshairs

    You can totally fire someone from their job for their religion. But refuse to go to a football game because you don’t like some jackass not standing for the anthem, well that is just different and wrong.

    1. Do you honestly expect Reason to be consistent or make sense?

    2. On what planet does what a government-protected monopoly does represent the free market in action?

      Oh, right, on the planet of fucking parasite government lawyers.

      1. What monopoly?

        Is there a Federal law preventing more football leagues?

        (The XFL was a miserable failure, but it existed.)

        1. And the USFL.

          1. And there is another one in the works – the Alliance of American Football.

            1. Some monopoly…

      2. The NFL isn’t a monopoly, you idiot. They are starting a new league next year. Second, even if it were, only someone of your animal like intelligence could think that their being a monopoly is why they did this and not because it was costing them huge amounts of money.

        My God you are stupid. Just fucking a wow stupid.

        1. EC Dub! EC Dub!

          Oh wait, wrong sport . . .

          XFL! XFL!

          1. The Sandman was tits.

          2. +1 Shane Douglas

    3. Dude, you once said I would be an “economic terrorist” for boycotting a bakery that would refuse to bake me a cake.

    4. The League has the right to require the players to stand, but they are not obligated to do so, and some people would see their refusing to require it as a good thing. Just the same, I think everybody should be allowed to bake a cake or not for anybody, whether based on the gender of the person they’re marrying, their hair color, skin color, religion, sexual orientation or shoe size. I might think the person is morally reprehensible for refusing–and in fact, I would find someone who refused to serve someone for any of those reasons to be either bigoted, stupid, or both–but I would not want the government to force them to serve that person. Likewise, I would like to see the owners allow the players to choose to sit, stand or kneel respectfully to express their own beliefs.

      Even more than that, though, I’d like to see the owners off the state, local and federal tit. I’m not interested in your game, so I shouldn’t have to pay for your stadium or subsidize flyovers.

  17. This isn’t about political correctness. This is about market signals.

    NFL viewership was down. Advertisers are reconsidering their advertising relationship with the NFL. Game attendance was down. The military is a big advertiser during NFL games. This isn’t about principle. This is about entrepreneurs being responsive to their customers. It isn’t even about customers getting angry. It’s dollars and cents. Entrepreneurs are more responsive to the preferences of their customers than government ever can be because of the profit motive, and the NFL owners are another example of that.

    Incidentally, the NFL has always been against making sports betting legal–for fear of it hurting their bottom line either through scandal or just by tainting the perception of the game by association with gambling.

    The change in their stance on gambling didn’t happen because of principle either. They changed their position on gambling because viewership is down, and they’re hoping that if more people are betting on the games, then maybe their viewership numbers will go up since people want to watch the games they bet on.

    1. Not true, Ken. Gillespie has informed us that NFL rating declines and award show viewer declines have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the injection of left-wing politics.

      I’m just glad to see that we can criticize private businesses again (but just this one time, because it’s woke).

      1. There was a meeting between representatives of the NFL players who refuse to stand during the anthem and the NFL owners–someone secretly recorded the meeting and it was leaked recently.

        The owners were all about how refusing to stand for the anthem was turning the audience off, threatening the money stream broadcasters were willing to pay–how that hurts the players’ share of that revenue, etc.

        Even if the owners are wrong to think that dissing the flag is unpopular, that’s what they were worried about. And in an election year?! They had that meeting in the wake of Trump’s tweets about it. I don’t see how Trump loses a single vote for calling out these millionaires for dissing the flag.

        Only an intellectual could fall for the argument that dissing the flag doesn’t have anything to do with the public’s growing dissatisfaction with the NFL.

      2. I still think he’s more right then not. Does it have no effect? No, it probably has some effect. But I think there is extreme diversification in the media landscape now. And I think this is a part of a longer trend we will see.

        1. That’s the crux of the matter. Gillespie seems to think that these rating declines have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the anthem protests and the endless virtue signaling at award shows when we know for a fact that they are a major reason for the rating declines with regards to NFL viewership. And that’s why the teams agreed to this new rule. They would not have decided on this if it wasn’t effecting their bottom line.

          Again, I’m just glad it’s ok for people to criticize private companies again, because this time it’s ‘woke’ so it’s ok.

          1. I think it’s fine what owners do with their money. What I object to is what they do with taxpayer money, which is what their generous subsidies amount to.

            Even I could be a pretty effective NFL franchise owner if I could buy a team. But in a thousand years I could never be an NFL player, no matter how hard I practiced. Nor could any of you.

          2. Anyone who has run a business knows that sometimes you don’t know the source of a problem, but do know that there is a way to find out.

    2. This isn’t about political correctness. This is about market signals.

      It is about both. It is because that when they want to be, the Right can be just as much PC Warriors as the Left is. So the outraged SJW warriors of the Right decided to take it out on the NFL, and Trump was more than happy to bait and goad them on. You know, Trump, the supposedly “anti-PC” candidate (lol). And Welch is saying – correctly in my view – that it’s creepy for any business to bow to political pressure from any politician to engage in enforced patriotism.

      1. There is nothing creepy about businesses catering to their customer base. Amazingly enough, people were pissed off about this long before Trump said anything. Trump just jumped on the bandwagon.

        I don’t know what to tell you other than go watch something else. If you don’t like it, too fucking bad. Your side lost. Get used to it.

  18. I guess Welch is at the stage where Facebook banning political content it doesn’t like is a ridiculous thing to get upset about, but the NFL enforcing its own rules is beyond the pale.

    Good luck trying to square that circle

  19. If they play a Trans Anthem should they be forced to stand for that?

      1. with the eagle on the hood, I’m in.

        1. Hell yes with the eagle on the hood. This is still America, after all.

        2. That eagle was a firebird – – – – – – –

          1. Check out Pedantic Pete over here.

    1. “The National Anthem is a black hole”

      – Bill Weld Libertarian Party Nominee 2020

    2. If that is what the customers wanted, sure. And if that ever is the case, Welch will be all about the authority of employers to demand their employees toe the line.

  20. “Political correctness is ruining free speech in America. To fight it, we insist that professional athletes participate in nationalist rituals in the proscribed fashion without expressing any views, to avoid offense. To do otherwise would endorse snowflakes and their safe spaces.”

    —-Ken White

    Is Ken White misusing the term “political correctness” here?

    I think refusing to stand for the national anthem is politically correct.

    If you’re in the presence of people who refuse to stand for the national anthem, then standing is probably politically incorrect.

    1. lol

    2. I think that political correctness is in the eye of the beholder here. I get Ken White’s point, and I know what he’s trying to do here. He’s taking an issue with a crowd he strongly suspects has little time for PC behavior and snowflakery (TRUMP VOTERZ!!!111!), and is flipping the scenario. It’s a tweak. I get it. What I don’t get is how we’re turning an organization with employees having behavior guidelines into a big political issue of liberty and freedom.

      What if say, President Obama had died during his term, and during an NFL game, a subset of players refused to observe a “moment of silence” honoring the dead president and flipped off the camera as it panned over the team, and then proceeded to warm up, toss a football around, stretch etc while the rest of the viewers and players stood stone-silent, heads down.

      I’m not sure I’d be wracked with righteous indignation if the NFL sanctioned those players.

      It seems pretty “snow-flakey” to get the vapors over this.

      1. That is a very good way to put it. White is as usual just being an asshole here. White would never have a problem with people demanding something like that and punishing the NFL severely for refusing to do something. He just doesn’t like the people who want the players to stand for the anthem and is pissed his side lost for once. That is all that is happening here.

      2. I understand what he’s trying to say, too, but political correctness is about not offending the disabled, women, LGBTQI+, people’s religions, races, etc.

        Political correctness is not about somebody doing something that offends the overwhelming majority. That’s just simple offensiveness.

        Political correctness is about not offending sensitive minorities.

        Refusing to stand for the national anthem may be offensive, but t is not politically incorrect.

        Telling an off color joke about Polish, gays, the mentally disabled, etc.–that’s politically incorrect. Farting in an elevator may be offensive, but it is not politically incorrect.

        1. “Refusing to stand for the national anthem may be offensive, but t is not politically incorrect.”

          What would happen to a Republican candidate who refused to stand for the anthem or recite the pledge of allegiance at a political event? He or she would likely be booed off the stage of the political event for incorrect behavior.

          1. That’s pretty stupid.
            “Political correctness” is not being able to tell the truth, because it goes against the narrative.

    3. An employer or its customers objecting to an employee using work time and facilitied to make political statements is an egregious example of PC.

  21. Because nothing says “patriotism” quite like ordering people under penalty of a fine to stand up during the National Anthem

    Nothing says “stop hemorrhaging views and fans” like “not making every football game a political grandstand”.

    I love how Reason is now all about mocking private organizations regulating employees’ on-the-job expression that reflects on the employer.

    (Yes, the NFL should never, ever get a cent of public money. No, that’s completely irrelevant here.)

    I half-expect this sort of thing from the low-quality staff and interns, who I expect to have all the thoroughgoing libertarian intellectual credibility of someone with a “Ron Paul rEVOLution” sticker in 2012.

    I expect better from Welch, somehow.

    1. “I expect better from Welch, somehow”

      You must not have read Welch in a while then. He’s “newly woke” and he increasingly makes no sense. Old Welch wouldn’t even recognize the “newly woke” variety.

  22. I dunno, if my employer told me to stand for the national anthem if there were cameras on me, I guess I would if I wanted to keep my middle-class job. I’m not sure it would be worth it to me to get fired or quit. But if it was that important to me, I’d probably quit.

    I suspect that because this is the NFL, we believe that the organization is what… a public accommodation?

    I’m not sure how to look at all this, but it seems that we seem to implicitly agree that when you go to work for the NFL, that you abide by a set of rules. Some of these rules probably make sense, others may not so much. Do the employees get to pick and choose which rules to obey? If so, why would the NFL have any rules or guidelines for the players to follow on or off the field.

    I wouldn’t like my employer dictating my behavior out of the office, but my job doesn’t have cameras and microphones pointed at my face both on and off the field.

    Is it a problem if an NFL player is suspended, fined or fired if he beats up his girlfriend in an elevator? I would rate that as one of the guidelines or rules that dictate behavior off the field.

    1. I suspect that because this is the NFL, we believe that the organization is what… a public accommodation?

      That’s the thing that puzzles me: if I cause my employer to lose customers or revenue, I’d be disciplined or most likely just sacked. Why would the NFL be different?

      1. Stop using logic here. Just know that sometimes you can criticize businesses for censoring speech and sometimes you can’t. Principals before principles.

    2. They get an enormous amount of money to play a child’s game… and represent the franchise. They often forget the second part of that.

    3. Professional sports has a unique relationship between “employees” and “employer”.
      In what other business are employees literally bought and sold?
      And while we are on the subject of racism, what is the exact percentage of honkys in the NFL?

      If the players were protesting slavery, either to the teams, the union, or the league, I could call it a speech issue. But to say a bazillionaire has to disrupt a paying customer’s experience to make a social point is ludicrous. Those players could have donated, on their own time, enough money to build hundreds of facilities for ‘oppressed’ youth to ease their pain. They could have formed pro bono law firms to assist the arrested.

      1. I’ll bet it’s a bigger percentage than the NBA.

      2. “In what other business are employees literally bought and sold?”

        Mistaking terms of use for statements of fact does not make it so.

        They are all contracted employees of the NFL. Being ‘sold’ to another team does not actually mean anyone owns them. It’s the functional equivalent of you being transferred to a different department.

  23. I found the article remarkably empty of any principle/right either violated or supported by the action.

    It is not clear what Welch was trying to even show by his commentary.

  24. Oh, and Kaep should still be in jail for impersonating an NFL QB.

    1. I just want to politics to go away so we can talk more about Kaep not being good at the game.

      1. He was good and then he got bad. First time that’s ever happened in the history of football ever.

        If he never put on the SJW act no one would care that he was out of the league, but I think some team would have picked him up as a back-up quarterback if he hadn’t become such a divisive figure. The Che shirts did not endear him with a lot of people besides those who would never be caught dead watching football in the first place.

        1. If Kaep had worn a Pinochet shirt, would he have been sanctioned. Discuss.

          1. He’d probably become popular with people who read Hoppe

          2. No, because none of the NFL fans or executives know who that is, and certainly wouldn’t recognize his face. Blind speculation mind you.

            1. Hoppe or Pinochet or both?

            2. The problem is that Pinochet’s face…I mean that FACE. No one wants it on a t shirt.

  25. The folks who object to the NFL protesters are the same people who demonstrate their respect for America by straining to tug American flag t-shirts over bloated bellies; jamming down hot dogs from mustard-smeared America flag paper plates; using the flag in advertisements hawking mattresses, sewer line servicing, and used pickups; waving the Confederate flag on special occasions, such as Fridays; and — my favorite — wearing American flag shorts (because sitting on the flag is what true patriots and sovereign citizens do).

    1. So, as I stated above, this is how I suspect Ken White views NFL fans, hence his comment.

      1. White is one of the biggest elitist assholes out there.

        1. Well, if he has a high school diploma, never married a cousin, doesn’t attend NASCAR events or ‘rasslin matches, and has not once juggled a rattlesnake while speaking in tongues, I guess he qualifies as “elite” in some circles.

          Use of standard English would clinch it.

          1. You have such a strange obsession with appearing to be elite.

            1. That is a common trait among losers.

              1. My guess is that he’s an unsuccessful person with some claim to eliteness somewhere in his past. Maybe he went to an ivy-league school. Maybe Noam Chomsky held a door open for him one time. Something allows him to make some connection to who he believes to be elite. Thus, despite all the evidence of personal failure in his life, he has that. And so he’s better than those fucking poors, despite all the evidence otherwise.

                1. Brevity is the soul of wit – some hick in some low rent soap opera that the Reverend Kirkland never bothered with

              2. He wanted to know what I think employers should do with regard to antigumint goobers whose English speaking skills featured drawls and who otherwise did not speak the King’s English.

                I gotta give it to him because he got me: if I am complaining about Whole Foods hiring analphabet Hispanic employees who have lousy English communication skills, I can’t very well be tolerating Billy Joe who can’t properly pronounce Tallahatchie.

          2. #StillNotTiredofWinning

          3. My uncle baby says to leave my cousin wife out of it.

          4. Sounds like typical progressive standards for an office holder.

    2. You’re not one of their customers and never will be, so they don’t have to care what you think. And they don’t.

      1. Flag etiquette is not up for debate, and the MAGA goobers have the worst flag etiquette of anyone.

        1. Swing and a miss.

        2. Nope, they still don’t care.

        3. Tony, you are a traitor to America. So you don’t get an opinion.

          1. Ooh ooh but let me guess, the guy who conspired with fucking RUSSIA to get elected president is probably, what, possibly the best patriot who ever lived?

            1. The candidate that conspired with Russia, lost the election.
              Keep up, will you?

            2. Tony, republicans don’t conspire with Russia, you democrats have an exclusive on that. Just like Ted Kennedy, ho conspired with the Soviets to prevent Reagan from being re-elected in 1984. Which is a proven fact, so don’t bother denying it.

              Tony, just like you, the other democrats are also traitors to their core as well. Just admit it.

    3. THIS is the correct use of any flag.

  26. A bit of devil’s advocate here.

    He’s in a bit of a bind though. I don’t feel bad since he has to earn his $44 million but this seems like a compromise.

    Everyone has a gripe and bitches and moans.

    No one is forcing them to come out if they don’t want to.

    It’s easy to look at Goodell and the NFL and laugh at them but if their customers are upset, what do you want them to do?

    1. $44 million a year, he might have to sit in the locker room during the anthem.

      “Life’s all swings and roundabouts”.

  27. Wasn’t it not too long ago that the players weren’t even on the field during the national anthem? And why the fuck is the national anthem played at a sports match?

    1. It is played because the paying customers like it played. If you don’t, don’t go. Why are you so bothered by a private business catering to the tastes of its customers? Don’t people who have different tastes than you have a right to have businesses cater to them?

      1. It is played because the paying customers like it played.

        Eh, they like it played because it’s now sort of a tradition. If they stopped playing it, some people wouldn’t like it, but they’d get used to it the same as getting used to it being played.

        Why are you so bothered by a private business catering to the tastes of its customers?

        What makes you think I’m bothered by it? I’m just bringing up the fact that it seems like an odd juxtaposition. What does playing a game have to do with waving the national flag and playing the national anthem?

        Don’t people who have different tastes than you have a right to have businesses cater to them?

        Hmm. That gives me an idea. I’m going to open a shop (doesn’t matter what we sell, apparently). Every time a customer walks in the door we’ll play the national anthem. The customer is expected to stand with their hand over their heart and maybe sing along. That way, they’re ready to do some serious business.

        1. Eh, they like it played because it’s now sort of a tradition. If they stopped playing it, some people wouldn’t like it, but they’d get used to it the same as getting used to it being played.

          Maybe but the NFL disagrees. I think they play it because it would cost them money not to. I will take their word over yours.

          Hmm. That gives me an idea. I’m going to open a shop (doesn’t matter what we sell, apparently). Every time a customer walks in the door we’ll play the national anthem. The customer is expected to stand with their hand over their heart and maybe sing along. That way, they’re ready to do some serious business.

          If it works, go for it. If your customers like having the national anthem played, you should do it. For example, if you ran a business in a town where people liked that sort of thing, going out every morning and playing the national anthem and running the flag up the pole would probably be a smart business practice.

          Some people really like the anthem and respect the flag. And those people’s money spends too. That is really all there is to it.

          1. Maybe but the NFL disagrees. I think they play it because it would cost them money not to. I will take their word over yours.

            If the Kaepernick thing never happened and the NFL just up and quietly decided to stop doing the national anthem one day, you really think there would be an uproar demanding it be played before every game? I doubt it. Some people would ask why it stopped and if they were told it was to save time or some bullshit, they’d live with it since it’s not really a big deal.

            1. If the Kaepernick thing never happened and the NFL just up and quietly decided to stop doing the national anthem one day, you really think there would be an uproar demanding it be played before every game? I doubt it.

              Yeah, the same customer base that went nuts and stopped watching over Kappernick would totally be okay if the NFL stopped playing the anthem altogether. Are you kidding me? And they would not be able to quietly do it. People would notice and be pissed off.

              I am not saying it is right or wrong. But, you clearly don’t know many people on the other side fo this issue or understand how important the anthem is to a lot of people. You are just engagin in Pauline Kael Syndrome here.

              1. Yeah, the same customer base that went nuts and stopped watching over Kappernick would totally be okay if the NFL stopped playing the anthem altogether.

                Right. People would be expecting it, but do you really think they’d start going apeshit because it wasn’t played? Remember, I said that it would be done quietly with no big announcement and no reason given, except maybe to save time. And really it would maybe be some game here or there and people would get used to it not happening sometimes.

                Those people went apeshit over Kaepernick because he “disrespected” the anthem and flag or whatever. Simply neglecting to play it at this particular game today isn’t disrespect, it’s just not doing it this time. Unless these people really see this sports game they’re attending as some sort of patriotic display that strengthens the nation or something.

                I am not saying it is right or wrong. But, you clearly don’t know many people on the other side fo this issue or understand how important the anthem is to a lot of people.

                Apparently not. I guess I didn’t realize how feverish some people get over the dumbest shit. And let’s not kid ourselves here. It’s not patriotism or even nationalism. At it’s heart it’s pathological conformity.

                1. Simply neglecting to play it at this particular game today isn’t disrespect,

                  That is not how it would be seen, especially after it has been played for so long.

                  And to the extent it is conformity, it is a reaction to people like Matt and the media’s utter disdain and loathing of anyone who is patriotic or believes in any traditions. If you are the kind of person who stands and salutes the flag and thinks the anthem is important, you are pretty much the last legitimate target of ridicule and loathing left in the popular culture. You don’t realize that because you are not one of those kind of people and likely can’t stand them anyway, But they do. And as a result, small things like standing for the anthem become important if for no other reason than as a way to tell people like Welch to fuck off. It is clear from the article how much Welch hates them. It is a bit puzzling that he can’t seem to understand why they wouldn’t like him much either.

                  1. And as a result, small things like standing for the anthem become important if for no other reason than as a way to tell people like Welch to fuck off.

                    Tell me, John, is it patriotic to use the anthem as a means to act like a petulant little child?

                    1. Standing up to people who hate you and everything you believe in by respecting the flag is not being a petulant child you totalitarian half wit. You just can’t seem to understand or tolerate anyone who has different views than you and dares to express them. You are the most narrowminded and ignorant person on here. You are in many ways worse than Tony. He at least is honest about his narrowmindedness. You lie and pretend you are tolerant when in fact you think no one but those whom you approve have any right to express their views.

                      You are a petulant child. Stop projecting that fact onto others.

                    2. Good Lord you really have gone off the deep end haven’t you?

                      The flag is a just a piece of cloth. The anthem is just a song. What’s important is not the flag itself or the anthem itself, but the IDEAS behind those symbols. There was a time when conservatives understood this. But not the modern ones who insist on ostentatious displays of patriotism (funded by the military!) over any principled fidelity to the ideas undergirding them.

                      You want to know the people who really disrespect the flag? The people who wish to create stifling social conformity to a narrow Patriotically Correct set of views, and who judge those who deviate from those views as being insufficiently patriotic to America.

                      Not standing for the anthem is not “hating America”, it isn’t “hating you”, that is just in your mind, your increasingly grievance-addicted victim-fetishizing mind. Guess what, disagreeing with your views is not the same as denying your right to speak your views. But in John World, not standing for the anthem is tantamount to silencing patriots. Well fuck that and fuck your faux patriotism.

                  2. it is a reaction to people like Matt and the media’s utter disdain and loathing of anyone who is patriotic or believes in any traditions

                    No one “loathes” patriots. Give it a rest, Victim Boy.

                    What people like me loathe are people who view superficial displays for flags or songs are proof of sincere patriotism.

                2. Fuck you Juice. Just because you’re an unpatriotic dick doesn’t mean everyone else has to be too.

              2. Eh…

                They’ve been playing the anthem at football games for long times, sure. But they didn’t always broadcast it. That’s why the rules changed back in 2009, requiring players take the field for the anthem during primetime games, because they’d started broadcasting the anthem.

                So let’s say they just cut it out of the broadcast, citing time/costs/whatever. Folks at home get used to not having it part of the broadcast again, but still know it’s being played if they ask. Fast forward five years and drop it from being played at some games. Maybe distract from that by getting well-known singers for live performances for the other times. Eventually just drop it down to the Superbowl and whatever games are expected to be big.

                They could certainly do it if they wanted.

                The trick to something like this is don’t make a production out of it, don’t draw attention to it, and do it slowly.

                1. The trick to something like this is don’t make a production out of it, don’t draw attention to it, and do it slowly.

                  So engage in this elaborate hoax that would risk alienating their customers and gain them no new ones. Yeah, that makes sense. Why would you even suggest that? What would be the point of doing it?

                  I get it that you don’t like the anthem played. But that doesn’t give you the right to demand the NFL cater to your desires ahead of those who do. You people just can’t let it go and live with the fact that you lost this one.

                  1. @John

                    Why would you even suggest that?

                    ’cause you said they couldn’t drop it without upsetting people. You can’t throw out a challenge like that and not expect someone’s going to at least think about how it could be done.

                    What would be the point of doing it?

                    Don’t know, don’t care. Possibly to actually get politics out of football and try to avoid similar debacles in the future. Maybe the NFL gets taken over by America-hating jihadists that want to corrupt America from the inside out. My response wasn’t about the why, just the how.

                    I get it that you don’t like the anthem played.

                    No, you assumed that. This is just a popcorn thread to me, but you threw out that challenge and, well, that’s bait for someone like me.

            2. Think of it this way Juice,

              Not playing the anthem would gain them exactly zero additional fans. It would, however, alienate some significant portion of their existing fanbase. So yeah, they do it out of business necessity.;

              1. John the only people who watch football for the anthem are gay men who like to see how close to Whitney’s version they can get.

                1. I am happy to hear the perverts are patriots too Tony.

                  1. Honestly, unless gay men are just inherently perverse in your world view, that’s one of the least perverse reasons to watch football. The most? Doug Stanhope’s reason.

                    1. Yes, John thinks being gay equals being a pervert. And he also thinks he’s one of the cool kids around here.

                2. Tony, go back to luring little boys into your windowless van.

      2. I have to admit if they ever changed the National Anthem to America the Beautiful I just might take a knee.

  28. I’m not a fan of the Commish do it, but whatever. I do believe that what you do on your employer’s time is employer business. I’m calling the team the employer not the commish. So if you are playing for the NY Jets and they don’t want you to do it at a game. They can discipline for doing it.

    Well, playing for the Jets might be punishment enough.

  29. This will fail. Why? Because Trump is going against both blacks and immigrants. As your Dear Leader explained many moons ago, you pick ONE target and scapegoat it relentlessly. But this just polarizes both communities to align against you. Elementary, my dear.

  30. The irony of this whole thing is that if you actually care about the problem of police brutality and lack of accountability, you should loath Kapernick and the rest of the players who did this. They accomplished nothing by their protest except to ignite a pointless and emotional debate over the anthem and allow the police to portray anyone who questions them as being against the entire country. If Kappernick were being paid by the police unions to run a false flag operation designed to discredit the critics of law enforcement, he could not have done a better job. That stupid SOB set the cause of police accountability back decades.

    If Welch cared about anything beyond virtue signaling and sticking it to the dreaded normals, he would see that. If you care about civil liberties and police accountability, Kappernick is not an ally you want. And this is not a hill you want to die on.

    1. Just shut the fuck up John. Do you take the wrong position on literally everything just to be a troll, or is there something wrong with your head?

      1. I am right about literally everything. And I express that partially because enjoying the misery and anger of stupid people like you is my one big vice. It is either torture nasty retards like you or gamble or drink. Got to have something.

        1. You’ve explained several times that you are a sadist. I’ve tried to tell you that being a sadist is abnormal, but crazy doesn’t know it’s crazy, does it?

          So you’ve never bitched about too much political correctness going on in any other private-sector institution, right?

          1. Sure Tony, but you are a masochist and keep coming back. It is a symbiotic relationship we have.

            1. Joke’s on you, I have no feelings to hurt.

              So you’ve never bitched about too much political correctness going on in any other private-sector institution, right?

              1. I have no feelings to hurt

                Since you are a lunatic, I can’t really argue with that.

              2. Of course you don’t Tony. You’re a sociopath. That’s why you’re a progressive. Progressivism is phony, has no standards, is based on situational ethics, and is really just about gaining dominion over others.

                It can’t help but attract a piece of shot sociopath like yourself.

      2. Tony, John is right and you’re wrong. Period.

  31. What a disappointing capitulation to the stupidest fascist ever.

    1. Hell yes!

      Now do social media platforms that censor.

      1. I’m against censorship as a rule. People need to know just how disgusting the Twitter population is.

  32. Let the market decide!

    The NFL is doing what any business would do; they are responding to their customers and the free market. They are under no obligation to suffer losing business and customers because of their employee’s political views.

    The standing and playing of the national anthem at sports events is an American custom and tradition. No person in the stands, at home, or where ever they may be is required to participate.

    The people in the arena can remain seated, and the people at home don’t have to watch. But, if you are an employee, you do have to obey the rules set by your employer if you want to stay employed. Any employer can fire or dismiss any employee that disrespects and offends his customers or otherwise causes his business to lose money.

    1. But Cato, the market is only supposed to support things Matt likes.

      1. Not a single person here believes that your actual position here has anything to do with the fucking market.

        1. There is a big market in enjoying the misery of miserable assholes like you Tony. Now shut the fuck and stand for the anthem.

          1. I always do, but when I look at the flag I imagine President Barack Obama’s America or President Kamala Harris’s America, not the unfortunate years in between when the Russians installed the dumbest human on earth as president and idiots like you cheered it on.

          2. That’s all it is for you. Point scoring and “watching libruls cry”. It’s juvenile and lacks any semblance of principle.

            1. Go cry to someone who cares loser.

            2. And since when do you care about anything? Time and again anyone not on the left side of the culture war has been told to fuck off and go along because that is what people like you and Welch demanded. Well, this time you lost. You can fuck off and live with something you don’t like. The fact that you seem unable to accept that just shows what a child you are. Grow up and understand sometimes things don’t go your way. This is a very good learning experience for you if you allow it to be.

              1. Wait, at what point did I “lose”? I support the right of the NFL to require its employees to do anything, as a condition of employment, that doesn’t violate their rights.

                I don’t like phony patriotism on display where assholes like you demand respect for mere symbols while simultaneously shitting on the ideas that these symbols are supposed to represent.

                But yay you, you get to gloat at a completely pyrrhic “culture war victory”. Three Cheers for John – he gets to create social conformity for singing of the National Anthem, especially the part that goes “the land of the free and the home of the brave”. Woohoo! USA! USA!

                1. especially the part that goes “the land of the free and the home of the brave”. Woohoo! USA! USA!
                  Well yeah, you gotta belt that part out. That’s just science.

                  1. That’s the part that makes our anthem awesome.

                    It means millions of Americans every years question whether the land under that flag is still free, and if not, it asks us whether we’re still brave enough to make it free again.

                    No better national anthem is possible.

                    Honestly, I think some of you have a problem with patriotism without really thinking about wheter we have anything to be patriotic about.

                    We do!

                    Other countries in the commonwealth don’t have the First and Second Amendments. Those two things alone make us different and more free than other countries. There’s nothing wrong with patriotism per se–and if it’s centered on radicalism in defense of liberty, it’s sure as hell no vice.

                    Isn’t it true that the less patriotic people are, the less likely they are to give a shit about the Constitution?

                    1. It depends on what you consider to be “patriotic”.

                      If you think patriotism only means standing for the national anthem, then that is not real patriotism, that is just superficial conspicuous displays of faux patriotism.

                      Real patriotism is support for the ideals behind the symbols which represent them.

                      For example, I have seething contempt for the “patriots” who want to ban flag burning. They are putting the superficial above the concrete.

                    2. The flag represents the nation.
                      The first accepted entry to the Bill of Rights enumerates the right to “peaceably assemble to petition the government for a redress of grievances”.
                      Burning something is not peaceable. Burning the flag is not petitioning for a redress of grievances, it is symbolically saying you hate the nation.
                      The idea that a non-peaceable action, directed at the nation, as a whole, is protected as “free speech” is a perversion of the concept.
                      Don’t like America, as a whole? Leave.
                      If you have some particular complaint, make it, peaceably, and try to get enough support that it gets changed.
                      Don’t just go out there and act like an asshole.

                    3. Well said, Ken

    2. Technically the players are contractors, not employees. That’s why they sign contracts. But if they violate their contracts, then the rest follows. The franchise owners also are subject to the terms of those contracts.

  33. Popehat means “prescribed” rather than “proscribed”, but otherwise I agree with him 100%.

  34. When viewership fails to go back up, will they let their players have non-state-approved opinions again?

    1. I have little doubt that this will be the case. If they count viewership through cable ratings, then it won’t go back up. People are ditching cable because it’s getting too expensive. The main culprit there is the increase in the sports fees. I’ll watch football over the air or pirate games over the internet, but I’ll bet that won’t count in the ratings.

  35. the homegrown troika of football, baseball, and basketball

    Football: derived from Rugby and Gaelic Football

    Baseball: derived from Cricket

    Basketball: invented by James Naismith, a Canadian.

  36. Surely even libertarians tire of the catchall conversation stopper: “It’s a private-sector institution, so we can’t have any opinions on what they do.”

    Of course the NFL is hardly a totally private-sector thing.

    1. I agree. I hate that. Should be that the debate should happen without government coercion, not that no argument should happen.

    2. “Surely even libertarians tire of the catchall conversation stopper: “It’s a private-sector institution, so we can’t have any opinions on what they do.””

      You bet!
      Is that strawman yours, or did you steal it from someone?

    3. Well Tony, it’s people who think the way you do that mix government and private enterprise inappropriately.

  37. why not just drop the public displays of patriotism. It’s a sport, nothing more, nothing less. Originated during WW I in a fervent not to nationalism that was the cause of the very war being fought.

    1. Because people like it that way. If you do not, start your own league.

    2. Public displays of patriotism are fine. It’s kind of a bonding thing. Forced displays of patriotism are kind of painful, however.

      Try dissing La Borinquena during a Puerto Rican event and see what happens. Politics are fierce in Puerto Rico, but no one NO ONE disrespects the Puerto Rican flag or their national anthem.

  38. Too little, too late.

    What was revealed by the National Anthem controversy is that most of the NFL players hate the fans, the fans’ culture, and America.

    Who’s going to watch sporting events and root for teams, the players of which teams hate the fans, the fans’ culture, and America?

    Not me. I stopped watching this year (after being a lifelong fan) and didn’t watch the Super Bowl. I won’t even visit friends homes when they have on TV a NFL game and this applies to public places, such as restaurants.

    Good bye asshole NFL players.

    1. If you won’t give your money to people who hate you, you are just a snowflake according to Matt and Dopehat.

    2. You don’t get to call anyone else a snowflake.

    3. most of the NFL players hate the fans, the fans’ culture, and America.

      That’s right, not participating in superficial displays of conspicuous patriotism is proof of a treasonous heart!

      1. I think the vast majority of football players are American, and probably cover a large variety of random beliefs.

        1. Gee, you think?

          But oh no, you HATE AMERICA if you aren’t deferential enough to a stupid song.

          1. Yeah, you got me. You’re probably right.

          2. He didn’t say anything about the song.

    4. most of the NFL players hate the fans, the fans’ culture, and America.

      Do go on…

  39. It’s their circus, their monkey. If the monkey doesn’t like the rules, find another circus. It seems with this particular circus, the owners sided with those feeding their monkeys over the monkeys. It’s all about the money, honey.

  40. I think I’m the only guy I know who thinks watching sports is fucking boring

    1. i don’t watch sports myself.

  41. So a libertarian publication opposes private parties-engaged-in-voluntary-transactions imposing behavioral rules in their contracts?

    Because anything remotely patriotic — even if it is entirely private and voluntary — must be wrong?

    You are a libertarian genius, Matt.

    1. There’s nothing contradictory about a libertarian opposing the action of a private institution unless they are making some call for government correction of that action.

  42. I would’ve fired the P O T colin back in’16.. He would’ve come under the “ETHIC’S clause of his contract… It’s a game entertainment.. They/these TRASH are paid to entertain,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, nothing more!!! NOTHING LESS!!!!!

    1. You think YOU could do it? The worst NFL player in the league could do your job a lot easier than you could do his.

  43. “Thus continues a controversy that began with then?San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sitting during the anthem in an August 2016 preseason game to protest police brutality”

    No, then SF QM “found the light” on August 14, 2016, Conviently after he was benched in November 2015. But he doesn’t have to worry about being benched. No team would touch him, he’s toxic to the glue that holds s team together.

  44. Incidentally, there’s a patriotic as fuck hockey game on tonight.

    One of the great things about hockey is that the players really do care about whether they win, what the fans think, etc.

    If the game gets too lopsided, the team getting beat up usually starts a team fight–just to show the fans and each other that they care.

    You know what’s really embarrassing about that, too? Canadian hockey fans are more respectful of our national anthem when it’s sung before hockey games in Canada than NFL players are when our national anthem is sung in the United States.

    1. Yeah, Canadian Blue Jay fans also cheered a no-hitter against them last week. Canadian’s need to learn to be bigger assholes.

      1. I’m watching them sing the national anthem right now in Tampa.

        They got a color guard made up of all the armed services.

        Not a kneeler in sight.

        Land of the free.

        Home of the brave.

        America?

        Fuck yeah!

  45. GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL!

    at 1:02 in the first.

    Let’s go, Caps!

  46. Tom Wilson just beat the shit out of Coburm.

    Both ejected with majors.

    That’s too bad. I think we needed Wilson in the game creating havoc, but I don’t think he would dropped the gloves like that right out of the penalty box if Trotz hadn’t given him the okay.

    Don’t know that we needed that. Hope I’m wrong. Hope I’m wrong.

    1. Not ejected. Five minute majors.

      There’s gonna be another fight over the boarding hit.

      It’ll be before the third period. Tampa has to change things up or their season is over.

      There’s gonna be a fight.

  47. I dislike that people chose to sit or kneel for the national anthem but that is the right the first amendment gives them. Now I also think that anyone that does not like this kneeling instead of standing have the right not to support those who kneel with thier money. Then allow the market determine which group is correct.

  48. Well, that only took 3 years to fix. Our national anthem is the most unsingable on the planet, but in as much as it is one of the ways we affirm our agreement to disagree [sometimes in perpetuity], I will stand. It’s part of maintaining a civil society. Now… where did the NFL park their short bus?

  49. “the taxpayer-soaking cajillionaires who run the National Football League’

    …would *still* be taxpayer-soaking cajillionaires if they allowed these kind of protests. They’d be taxpayer-soaking cajillionaires who also insult their audience.

    In fact, the taxpayer-soaking part is more offensive than the anthem dispute.

    The only benefit the protests could have had, if persisted in, would have been to make the taxpayers less willing to be milked for the benefit of Big Sport.

  50. “Because nothing says “patriotism” quite like ordering people under penalty of a fine to stand up during the National Anthem”

    These people (football players) are simply entertainers and they are on the clock. If the people who pay them tell them to hop on one foot and sing Yankee Doodle Dandy, that is their prerogative. The entertainers can go find other work if they don’t like it.

    The subsidies that cities give these teams is a separate issue.

    1. Reason’s Progressitarian utopia preserves all Employer rights of contract.

      Except when the Employers are pandering to the WrongThink of their customers, of course.

    2. They are paid to WIN GAMES. That’s the only reason it’s entertaining. And they are under contract, so they can’t go to another city or team if they get a better offer. There are very very few people who can do their jobs. Any fool, including you, can hop on one foot and sing Yankee Doodle Dandy. That’s why the franchise owners don’t pay them millions of dollars to do that. They could pay losers like you to do it for pennies.

      And frankly, with subsidies, you don’t even have to be all that smart or talented to be an owner. The owner of the Denver Broncos is a former “entertainer”. But you? You could never be an NFL player no matter how hard you tried and no matter how hard you worked.

  51. “Freedom of contract! Unless your employer doesn’t want you to take a dump on the flag.”

    Such are the wages of Progressitarianism.

    Forget the betrayal of freedom of contract. You can’t even count on Reason to reflexively shill for Employers anymore. Not when it’s time to #HateAmericaFirst!

    1. I’m sorry, did I miss where Matt Welch advocated using the power of the state to coerce the NFL into reversing their decision in this matter?

      The NFL has a right to make these types of decisions, that doesn’t mean that we all have to agree with them.

      Funny how the SJW Right and the SJW Left both seem to have so much in common. Neither one is satisfied with mere tolerance, both of them demand affirmative support for their particular position on any given outrage.

      For the SJW Left, it’s not enough to be anti-Nazi, you have to affirmatively support their desire to punch Nazis. Failure to do so means that “you’re a Nazi too”.

      For the SJW Right, it’s not enough to support freedom of contract for employees, but you have to jump up and down and sing their praises when they make the Patriotically Correct decisions. Failure to do so means that you “hate America”.

      As far as I’m concerned, I support management’s right to do whatever they wish pursuant to their employment contracts, so long as they don’t violate the rights of their employees. That doesn’t mean their decision to attempt to enforce superficial displays of patriotism under penalty of censure is anything short of creepy, and quite frankly likely to backfire.

      1. Here’s the thing genius, Reason HAS NOT BEEN taking agnostic opinions on these things.

        When this first cropped up they did not simply say “Well, let the NFL decide what they want to do based on their bottom line!” They cheered it on, and said the NFL should NOT interfere with them disrespecting the national anthem, AND the majority of fans.

        That IS taking a side. And this article, without too explicitly saying it, is saying that they disagree with what the NFL is doing, because CLEARLY protesting during the anthem is the righteous thing to do.

        That is not being agnostic. That is taking sides, and it is taking the side MANY people disagree with.

        I don’t support 90% of the shit the government does, BUT I also realize that for all its flaws America is the best country in the history of the world… As such people who shit all over it and try to pretend it’s the WURST CUNTRY EVAR are idiots, and I’m not big fans of them.

        Ultimately it comes down to the NFLs call on what to do about it… But I’m personally glad they’re slapping those tools down.

        1. Here is clue #1. Not standing for the anthem is not “shitting on America”. If you think it is, then your concept of patriotism is so shallow it is reduced only to being respectful to certain pieces of cloth and certain songs.

          I am frankly sick and tired by the Patriotically Correct Right insinuating that not engaging in superficial conspicuous displays of patriotism is somehow “anti-American”.

          1. Here’s Clue Prime: The NFL doesn’t give a shit what you think ‘not standing for the anthem’ means.

            They do worry what it has meant to actual fans.

            Or does ‘radical’ jeff think they are not entitled to their own opinions?

          2. Chemjeff, obviously standing or not for the anthem is not the be all end all of patriotism. It is a very small, mostly symbolic part of being patriotic.

            I think the thing is to most people, I know EXACTLY the type of people who are all rah rah rah for this type of stuff. They ARE NOT people who actually believe in the traditional ideals of this country, and they are not patriotic. There may be the odd person who is and also chooses to not stand… But they’re a rarity, not the rule.

            Most of the people who have always done this type of stuff have been anti-American, mostly leftist, pieces of shit. Not ALL. Just most. Since this is the assumption most people have with the type of person who does this sort of thing, they call them un-patriotic because in most cases they really are.

            I guarantee some piece of shit like Kapernick (or however you spell his name) doesn’t give two fucks about any of the important stuff that made America the greatest country in history. He may have legitimate complaints about police brutality, but 99% of everything he stands for is garbage that Americans have fought and died to prevent happening here in the past. Same applies to almost everybody else who burns flags etc.

  52. This came about because the pathologically lying sweet potato we have as our head of state threw a bitch fit. That’s government involvement.

  53. “If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem.”

    Just a private sector matter!

    Also, what a great president!

    1. Any player in the NFL is making money FOR the NFL as well as himself. But that’s progressivism for you. A player is “privileged” to make money. He doesn’t contract for it. It’s a government granted “privilege”.

  54. NFL players are employees bound by contract to perform certain activities. If they don’t want to do them, then their paychecks should reflect that.

    1. Sure. Just remember contracts go two ways. The owners are bound by them as well.

    2. One can recognize the right of the owners to prohibit or require certain behavior on the players’ part, but also disagree with the owners’ choice to do so. That’s what this is about.

  55. And let’s take stock, Team Fuck Me America I Love Your Small Government Fuck Me Oh Yeah Like That, No a Little Over To the Side, Yeah Oooh America: Goodell just took this moronic wedge issue off the table well before election day.

    You idiots actually think liberals are crying sad tears over this great injustice, and that means you won something. Win a dick, weirdos.

  56. Imagine an alternate universe, where President Hillary Clinton and a Democrat supermajority Congress passed sweeping gun control legislation. In this universe, a few conservative NFL players decided to use their platform to protest the government’s decision to take away their rights, by re-sewing the American flag emblem upside down on their jerseys. Their protest was rooted in the ancient tradition of signifying a nation in distress; to them, the country that they once loved was in severe distress as the rights of free people were being trammeled upon by a tyrannical government. They said so plainly in postgame interviews. While the NFL’s conservative fans loved the protest, President Clinton was not so pleased. In an unscripted moment, she was caught on tape commenting that players “shouldn’t be allowed to disrespect the flag like that”. The NFL management, not wanting to incur the wrath of the government, imposed a rule forcing the players to wear their flag emblems on their jerseys in the proper manner while on the field.

    1. As you might expect, in this universe, Reason’s commenters denounced Hillary as a totalitarian despot wanting to stifle free expression, and criticized the NFL for trying to enforce fake patriotism with fines and penalties. They complained loudly about the military’s direct subsidization of the NFL for faux-patriotic displays, darkly insinuating it was all just a Hillary plan to fool the rubes into thinking that she was just as much of a patriot as they were, when we all know that Hillary’s only loyalty is to herself. But what they insisted they really wanted, however, was to get politics completely out of sporting events altogether. Why, the whole idea behind singing the National Anthem at sporting events grew out of war solidarity from World War I – you know, that war that we never should have gotten involved in in the first place, no thanks to that scumbag Woodrow Wilson. We shouldn’t be using sporting events to praise overseas warmongering. If only Ron Paul had been elected president instead. He would have pointed out how terrible it was that the state uses these types of events to provide legitimacy to our military-industrial complex and its attendant overseas empire, and would be all in favor of taking national anthems and military demonstrations out of civilian sporting events altogether.

      1. In that situation I would be fully in favor of the NFL doing whatever they chose to do. Just as I am now. I would also reserve the right to bitch about Clinton and/or the NFL and their actions in that universe.

        One can have a PERSONAL OPINION about something being good or bad, without demanding to remove somebody elses right to do so. This is a private contract situation, not government. I personally am glad the NFL is slapping down these tools in this universe, but I never demanded a law get passed to force them to force the players to stand, nor would I.

        That’s principles versus practical preferences. I would also prefer nobody smoked crack, because it’s a horrible idea… But I think crack should be legal. That’s not contradictory in any way.

        1. In that situation I would be fully in favor of the NFL doing whatever they chose to do. Just as I am now. I would also reserve the right to bitch about Clinton and/or the NFL and their actions in that universe.

          THAT’S EXACTLY RIGHT. Which is what Welch et al. are doing in this universe. Supporting the NFL’s right to do as they please with their employees, while at the same time criticizing the propriety of their decision itself. And when he makes the very sensible point that forcing employees to engage in faux-patriotic behavior under threat of punishment, due IN PART to Trump’s threats on the issue, somehow Welch is treated as the world’s worst libertarian for doing so.

          It’s not enough to support the NFL’s right to attempt to force Patriotically Correct behavior. Welch has to stand up and affirmatively cheer when they do so. Such is the ethos of the SJW Right.

          1. Actually, there’s nothing about supporting the NFLs right to do this in the piece.

            Everything is geared to supporting the kneelers and calling the collective ‘manhood’ of those who like patriotic displays into question.

            Frankly, it’s a boilerplate leftist knee jerk. Slate or Salon quality.

            1. How else you gonna move on to a better gig, unless you show you can do it the way they want it done?

          2. “…due IN PART to Trump’s threats on the issue,…”

            You have an active fantasy life, and the brains of a snail.

          3. Chemjeff, was this supposed to be a NEWS PIECE or an OPINION PIECE? Because it surely isn’t a news piece.

            Here’s the thing, human beings have this ability to recognize patterns. Reason, especially in recent years, has given up on even trying to be non biased. They’re as bad as the Wa-Po, CNN, Fox, NYT, etc. There IS NO universal libertarian position on this, other than that it should be the employers call based upon their contracts with their players.

            Reason has absolutely NOT taken this as their primary position. They have specifically pushed an agenda being in favor of the protestors. That is NOT a libertarian position, as a libertarian could hold either position, just as one can on many issues. Reason has been completely taken over by the Left-Libertarian sect, just as the mainstream media in all forms has been taken over by progressives. They no longer present news with a libertarian slant, they push a left-libertarian agenda.

            Given that the overwhelming majority of libertarians I have meant IRL have been Right-Libertarians, I find this a bit odd. Being totally neutral I would get. Hell leaning right-lib would probably make financial sense… But they always push the left-lib slanted agenda on every subject. This irks many right-libs. So we call them out in the comment section for their obvious bias, which is as it should be.

            1. Maybe if they presented actual news pieces, instead of opinion pieces, people wouldn’t bitch so bad. Or if they even had some right-libertarian slanted articles once in awhile!

              I’d love to see an article going through the myriad of statistics that show mass immigration DOES have net negative tax effects on natives and creates bigger government via their bad voting patterns, so MAYBE we DO need to abolish the welfare state before we can reasonably demand open borders. All from a libertarian perspective of course, since this is a VERY common opinion amongst libertarians. But they’ll never do that because they’re all just leftists who understand economics a bit. You’re clearly one of those types of people, so it is no surprise you lick their boots at every turn.

              I, on the other hand, live in the real world, and realize that the real world implications of some policies in our world AS IT PRESENTLY EXISTS do not always line up with my fantasies of how they might work in a perfect world. Put the horse BEFORE the cart, it works better that way.

    2. I’m pretty sure the flag is printed on the jerseys.

  57. In any event, what I’ve learned today from our Republican commenters is:

    Real patriotism doesn’t go any deeper than merely being respectful to pieces of cloth and hard-to-sing songs.

    If a person uses the symbolism of flags and anthems to point out deeper problems in America, in order to correct real injustice in America, then that person “hates America” and should rightfully be fired from his job.

    1. Time and place sparky. Wal-Mart employees shouldn’t be allowed to go around carrying pro-abortion OR pro-gun buttons/hats/shirts/etc on their person while working their shift either if it pisses customers off. If somebody does, and Wal-Mart decides to disallow such behavior, or even fire them, that’s totally fine.

      They should very much be free to do that on their own time. Athletes have plenty enough of a platform when they’re off the field, let them use THEIR time to protest like everybody else has to!

      1. He’s been reduced to criticizing cartoon caricatures of actual arguments.

        That and projecting bad motives onto opponents (his signature move.)

        IOW, he’s become self refuting.

        1. Chemjeff is a joke. I think he’s one of those people who goes all autistic about theoretical arguments… That are completely inaccurate for describing how anything works in the real world. Of course many of his stances are just plain retarded, so they’re bad even in theory, let alone the real world.

    2. Jeff, you are really are disingenuous, or just stupid. You always come up with the most inaccurate summary of any discussion. You’re maybe two rungs up from Tony anymore.

  58. *Sigh* The Pledge of Allegiance should not be treated as an idol that everyone must follow certain mystical rituals and recite by rote. Frankly, there was an excellent essay on this written by an atheist, Perry Willis, that called out those both following a faith and not following a faith for ‘state idolatry’, that was easily accessed by searching at Downsize DC’s old website. Now you can Google it and find the link by the title: Our heresies,against state idolatry and the mystical view of the state, but I’m not sure you can get there any more without searching for the title on Google.(which is what I ended up doing). Regardless of your faith or lack thereof, there are some excellent points made in relation to how the state should be seen.

    1. +1 Nice comment

    2. But this is your own personal perception of what the Pledge is. As a Libertarian, I am sure you appreciate that you cannot expect to impose your own beliefs and perceptions on others unless you are willing to abandon you own beliefs. Phrases like ” how the state should be seen” suggest someone who feels untitled to instruct others on how to act (presumably from on high); insisting that private associations like the NFL must act accordingly suggests something much worse.

      1. +1 better comment.

  59. There was an article some years back, in the NYT IIRC, written by a combat veteran who came back home and became a cop. He wrote about how he was frightened by the similarities he saw between modern policing and actual wartime methodologies. I need to find a link to the article, but in general he took issue with the overall militarization of police, us against them mentality, lethal force so easily used, escalation, etc. and to me his status as a both a combat vet and a cop lent some weight to his article. It took some guts for him to write that, because the Johns of the world (John, did you ever serve?) are ready to accuse anyone who doesn’t blindly salute the flag/cops as “hating America.”

    chemjeff’s point about the Confederate flag (among others) was quite cogent, and crystallizes one of the core ironies. I see a lot of that where I live; people screaming about respecting the flag while literally flying the flag of the last army to ever fight the U.S Army on American soil, and not even seeing the irony. In fact, when pointed out, it will usually cause them to double down.

    I’d love to see whether John and his adherents in this thread would deem that soldier/cop described above to be sufficiently patriotic to suit their tastes. Maybe they’ll argue that he “wasn’t a real soldier.” Or cite the stat that there are more “conservatives” than “liberals” in the military/police, but fail to see how that has no bearing on one’s status as an American/patriot.

    1. Try explaining what makes one an American patriot and then get back to us.

      BTW: The last army to every fight the US Army on American soil was the Battle of Bear Valley in Arizona in 1918.

      1. Try explaining what makes one an American patriot and then get back to us.

        Ooo! Ooo! I know! It’s standing up when a certain song is played, right?

    2. “I see a lot of that where I live; people screaming about respecting the flag while literally flying the flag of the last army to ever fight the U.S Army on American soil”

      You know what I used to see a lot where I used to live?

      The last peoples to fight wars against the US on American soil proudly flying the Stars and Stripes. And yes, pointing out the ‘irony’ was a sure fire way to get yourself marked an idiot and possibly earn yourself some rather angry indignation.

      1. That these same people would also be Cleveland Indians fans, never having set foot in Ohio, was also quite common.

        Take some time, maybe you’ll figure it out.

  60. Other than the fact that this is a private contract issue, which has been mentioned to death, I say this:

    I disagree with more of what the US FedGov does than not. However I also realize America is the best country in the history of the world. It is still pretty garbage, but it’s as good as it has ever been. Well it was 100 years ago anyway… For all its flaws I am glad and proud to be an American instead of from any other country on earth.

    I think people should be free to protest to their hearts content. There are MANY problems to address. But the thing is there are respectful ways to do that, and ones that will piss people off and ultimately NOT change peoples hearts and minds. The people who don’t stand for the anthem, burn flags etc are doing their causes more harm than anything most of the time.

    I very much believe the police are out of line, and we need massive reforms. It still doesn’t mean that people shitting on the greatest country in the history of the world is going to make me happy. It just doesn’t sit right with me. On a personal level I’m glad the NFL decided what it did, but I would have accepted their right to explicitly encourage such protests as well… They’re a private organization after all. Whatever the case nobody is obliged to LIKE actions taken by anybody/organization, even if they respect their right to do so.

  61. Eh. Very few employers allow employees to protest while working.

  62. How stupid is this? NFL football is as much a TV show as a “sport”. What actor, handed a script that says, “Stand for the pledge of allegiance”, refuses to without being fired?

    They’re just highly athletic actors. If they can’t follow the script, let them find another gig.

    The only reason they were permitted to protest in the first place, in violation of their contractual obligations, (Yes, it did violate the rules.) is that the people running the NFL liked their politics. If they’d been protesting for gun rights, or against abortion, they’d all have been looking for new jobs the next day. It wasn’t freedom, they were being humored because they held the “right” (which is to say, left) opinions.

    So the NFL figured out having their actors protest for causes a lot of their customers didn’t agree with was bad business, and changed the script. Took them long enough to admit it.

  63. A private organization insists that its employees, during contracted working hours, behave in a way consist with the organizations brand and image. A decision made after a clearly documented decline in revenue from prior brand damage due to employee PR stunts

    And a libertarian writer has a whine about that.

    pathetic

    1. “libertarian”

    2. More like lying Saul Alinskyite.

      If the employees were coming from the opposite side of the political spectrum, Welchie Boy either wouldn’t give a fuck and would completely ignore it or support the employers.

      Welchie Boy is a punk whose idea of a deeply held principle is “My JournoList friends and fellow lefties can do and say whatever the hell we want, and all the rest of you can go fuck yourselves.”

  64. GO contract law!

  65. “Libertarian” gutted that traditionalist market forces prevail.

  66. So, how much money is the NFL supposed to lose before they can make their employees to act according to what is best for the NFL? Its ironic that an argument is being made here for an unprecedented claim of a right of an employee to use the employer’s facilities for their own purposes, as though not allowing the NFL to prohibit certain behavior on the field is not a real imposition of free speech.
    I also get annoyed when those who engage in actions specifically designed to upset their opponents in the culture wars then complain when they get the reaction they so carefully sought to provoke. I really do not believe that an open and visible active refusal to take part in a shared demonstration of social unity and respect of our republic is in any designed to “start a conversation” about anything. It is a rejection of the idea of social unity under which a “conversation” can take place, replacing it with an attempt to start a fight.
    In the end, the NFL has no political opinion itself. It took action here only because it was the best way to ensure it can continue to do what it was created, and has every right, to do; make as much money as possible within permissible laws.

  67. How are the rules written? Can they stand with their backs turned? I’m sure someone can come up with a creative way to resist that conforms with these fascist rules. No one should be told HOW to display patriotism. Protesting racism and police abuse with the intent of improving things IS patriotic. Ignoring the fact that people are having their rights abused is NOT patriotic.

    1. God, I so hate people who don’t know the meaning of “fascist”.

      Here’s a clue: If it was a fascist rule, the players would get a bullet to the head if they turned their backs.

  68. Pretty stupid. Of course the NFL can do what they want, but that’s not the end of discussion, any more than it was with James Damore and Google. Simply because something is legal doesn’t mean it should be done, and certainly things that definitely should be legal also should come in for criticism and be used sparingly. (Even the President’s use of TR’s bully pulpit doesn’t decide the question either, unless you think that a world where anything the President criticizes suddenly becomes protected.)

    1. The problem with using things sparingly and deciding on a case-by-case basis, OTOH, is the inevitable cropping up of bias, both real and imagined.

  69. Truly sad that the poor millionaire players have to abide by the rules of their employer while working; being treated no different than anyone else in the US workforce. Poor babies, no longer allowed to act like a two y/o child throwing a temper tantrum.

  70. Interesting. You do realize that the NFL basically just defaulted to the NBA’s code of conduct for the anthem right? With the attendant explicit fining system that the NFL likes to use rather than the more open-ended punishment that the NBA tends towards, but still the same code of conduct.

  71. I like most Reason articles, Shikha’s garbage excepted, but occasionally they miss the point, as this one does. Should a fast food restaurant be criticized for saying employees in uniform can’t kneel in protest outside their entrance, even off the clock? Same principle here.

  72. Cops should refuse to provide security at NFL games. Let Black Lives Matter provide security.

  73. The downside of Volokh joining Reason.com is the baggage they brought with them. Unfortunately, the good reverend, like some disgarded and flavorless gum stuck on the underside of the baggage, came too.

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