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NFL’s National Anthem Policy Exposes Free Speech Hypocrisy of Right, Left, and Trump

"You have to stand proudly for the national anthem," Trump says, "or you shouldn’t be playing."

TrumpSMG/ZUMA Press/NewscomDonald Trump, who won the presidency in part by promising voters he would stand against the oppression of political correctness, is now taking a victory lap after successfully pressuring the National Football League to protect the delicate feelings of its snowflake audience.

The NFL announced yesterday that all players on the field during the singing of the national anthem would be forbidden to kneel, sit, or show any disrespect whatsoever. Teams that allow players to publicly protest racism and police brutality will be subject to fines. Players will be expected to confine their dissent to the locker room, concealing it from easily offended consumers of sports entertainment. GOP spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany summarized the new policy thusly during an appearance on Kennedy last night:

Players will respect our military, they will respect what our flag stands for and the unity of what our national anthem stands for, and if they don't want to respect it, they can take a hike and go to the locker room. Now everyone has to respect our military, including multimillion-dollar football players.

The new policy is undoubtedly crafted to appease not just some viewers but Trump, who has repeatedly attacked the NFL for failing to punish the defiant players. "I don't think people should be staying in locker rooms, but still, I think it's good," Trump said on Fox and Friends this morning. "You have to stand proudly for the national anthem, or you shouldn't be playing, you shouldn't be there, maybe you shouldn't be in the country." Vice President Mike Pence tweeted the news, adding a single remark: "#WINNING."

Sadly, the NFL's bowing to Trump's whims may indeed be a win of sorts for this administration. It will please the many conservatives who routinely complain that the campus left is hypersensitive but embrace the victim role when the shoe is on the other foot. Just take a look at the Twitter feed of Turning Points USA Director Charlie Kirk, a well-known critic of political correctness on campus.

Kirk's pinned tweet is video footage of him discussing campus culture with Sean Hannity, Eric Trump, and Donald Trump Jr. "College campuses have become a place where the administrators and the elites want everybody to look different but think the same," Kirk explains. "And it's all about conformity. If you have any point of dissension from the status quo of liberal orthodoxy, you will be punished." Just under the pinned tweet is Kirk's most recent tweet: "Stand for the national anthem!" Talk about conformity.

The NFL is of course a private entity, and requiring players to stand for the anthem isn't a First Amendment violation. But as National Review's David French points out in a terrific New York Times op-ed piece, Google, Mozilla, and Yale are all private too. Yet conservatives see nothing wrong with bemoaning these entities' internal crackdowns on speech. Indeed, concern that social media giants like Facebook and Twitter are censoring conservatives is now a major concern for the right. There was even a panel discussion about it at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference.

Middlebury College shouldn't sit idly by while students literally attack Charles Murray, and Twitter shouldn't scrub all non-leftist views from its platform. They shouldn't do those things because they have made commitments to the spirit of the First Amendment. They say free speech matters to them, and it is perfectly fair for conservatives to hold their feet to the fire when they fall short of those commitments.

But conservatives are being brazenly hypocritical when they celebrate the NFL's decision to muzzle its players. The NFL might not have made any commitment to free expression, but its players were engaged in one of the most civil and least disruptive forms of protest imaginable. Saying that simply kneeling for the national anthem is so offensive that it must be confined to the locker room or banned outright reflects the same hypersensitivity that plagues the social justice left.

Ironically, the best defense of the NFL's new protest ban is an argument most often put forward by leftists who defend disinvitations and shut-downs of offensive speakers on campus. I have frequently seen the following XKCD cartoon posted in response to such incidents:

The government was partly involved in the NFL case, since Trump's displeasure was a motivating factor. But there's little doubt the league was also trying to appease some viewers who were uncomfortable with the players' protests. This is what comes from defending a safe-space mentality: more safe spaces, and not just on the campus quad but in football stadiums as well.

Photo Credit: SMG/ZUMA Press/Newscom

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  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    I was hoping you guys would get around to talking about the football ruling.

  • GILMORE™||

    ^this we agree on. this issue needs many more hot-takes, hopefully from Shikha, Chapman, and ENB

  • Just Say'n||

    Shikha: "I am the strongest supporter of free speech. When I said that Milo should be assaulted I meant that in defense of the free speech of rioters."

    ENB: "I'm boycotting football. Admittedly, I've never watched the game, but I'm still boycotting it because this is censorship. Riots when Shapiro goes to speak at a publicly funded school isn't censorship, because he's a baddie. But, so many of these football players are good people. They support Planned Parenthood's good work by paying for all their mistresses' abortions"

    Chapman: "The Russians and Drumpf put the NFL up to this. Congress needs to investigate the nefarious influence on Russians on football. A source has told me that some people of Russian heritage are regular viewers of football. This is troubling."

    Yeah, I think Robby is the only person at this publication that has consistently defended the legal and spirit of free speech.

  • GILMORE™||

    "Robby is the only person at this publication that has consistently defended the legal and spirit of free speech."

    I particularly enjoyed his spirited defense of James Damore

  • Just Say'n||

    They did one wishy washy article on Damore written by Gillespie, I think. True. But, you don't understand, that was different because reasons or something.

    Turns out all that needed to happen for Reason to suddenly care about private acts of censorship was for that censorship to be turned against the Left. Who would have expected this other than literally anyone?

    Credit where it's due, Soave's take is far more rational and consistent than Welch's take. You have to account for the fact that Welch is "newly woke", though.

  • The Laissez-Ferret||

    You are the Rich Little of impersonating Reason writers. Maybe I should say Frank Caliendo for our younger commenters.

  • Dillinger||

    the Sniglets on Not Necessarily the News were funny

  • General_Tso||

    That was Rich Hall!

  • Dillinger||

    I can be stupid *and* correct.

  • Citizen X||

    Whoa, deja vu.

  • Ivivi Premprach||

    protect the delicate feelings of its snowflake audience.

    That's an interesting way to say "please their audience."

  • Hail Rataxes||

    You should post this on some threads about college students.

  • John||

    Yeah because turning the TV off and not watching something is just like showing up and disrupting someone's speech. You really are dumb as a post aren't you?

  • Hail Rataxes||

    Who do you think the customers are in the college student situation, John?

  • Norman Bates' Butler||

    I'll answer, that would be the taxpayers and parents, with some few small exceptions.

  • John||

    That doesn't even make any sense.

  • The Laissez-Ferret||

    Here's a difference. When a "scary" speaker is scheduled to come to a university, the brats scream and cry until the administration disinvites the speaker. When the admin actually allows them to speak, they let the brats march in screaming and lets them take the microphone away.

    That's not the same as someone turning off a TV or not buying a product. The people who don't like the kneelers are active protesters, they're just buying and watching different things.

  • Elston G||

    Logic and reason says that those who don't like the kneelers are either one of two things.
    Authoritarian following, jingoist fear filled morons, and pathetic hypocrites no different than what is known in history as useful idiots.
    Or. Pathetic deplorable bigoted racists

    . Full stop.

  • gee||

    I guess you think your Mr. Spock. Your logic is ALL WRONG! Maybe, and I say maybe they don't like paying for a service to watch football and DON"T WON"T to see their political views. The audience isn't paying for that. Just maybe that's the problem..And just to put YOU straight, those people certainly aren't snowflakes like yourself....Wonder if it were Obama what you would be posting......

  • Elston G||

    Kneeling in protest of police brutality isn't a " political view"
    It's a protest to bring awareness of the fact that black men don't know when they get in the car completely unarmed, if they are going to be given a death sentence by a rascist trigger happy cop for the crime of not being white and privileged.
    You make it a political view, with your grievance signaling.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    Wow. Nothing like an even partially ajar mindset from which to have a discussion. Keep it up

  • Tony||

    Do you seriously think anyone believes you to have consistent principles about anything?

  • John||

    Yes Tony. If you knew what principles were or had any, you would know that.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Yes Tony, John is consistent. I don't think I've ever seen him flip flop or move the goal posts.

    The same can't be said for you.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    "You should post this on some threads about college students."

    I'm not sure that the "college students" analogy works here. The players should have the same opportunity as anyone else to rent the stadium, or another venue, and express themselves. Just like flat-earthers have the opportunity to book a room and talk about how the earth is flat to their heart's content. But the flat earthers don't have a right to lecture during science class.

  • John||

    And they do not have a right to make anyone listen to them. If I don't want to hear their lecture, I don't have to go. And my not going is not anti free speech. It is me exercising my right to free speech.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    And free association too.

  • John||

    Middlebury College shouldn't sit idly by while students literally attack Charles Murray, and Twitter shouldn't scrub all non-leftist views from its platform. They shouldn't do those things because they have made commitments to the spirit of the First Amendment. They say free speech matters to them, and it is perfectly fair for conservatives to hold their feet to the fire when they fall short of those commitments.

    Okay. So what is the NFL to do? Not do this and cost itself hundreds of millions of dollars as it loses a significant portion of its customer base? How is saying the NFL is obligated to lose money so its players can express themselves in ways that antagonize their customers consistent with free speech?

    In the end, aren't you and French's bitch with the people who said: "screw this I am not watching the NFL if they won't stand for the anthem"? They are the ones driving this. If not for them, the NFL wouldn't give a shit about the players doing this. But, isn't it their right to not watch things they find offensive?

  • Hail Rataxes||

    Do you have any evidence at all for the idea that this was costing them money?

    Something tells me no.

  • John||

    My evidence is that the NFL thinks it did. And they know their business a lot better than you do. If the NFL is wrong, then they will find out and figure out how to do it better. But, who the fuck are you or I to tell them how to run their business? Oh yeah you are a fascist fuck who thinks you have the right to demand everyone think and act as you say. Well, fuck you. Go start your own league if you don't like it. Or turn the fucking TV off.

  • Norman Bates' Butler||

    NFL viewership declines

    Which means future contracts are worth less, and NFL has to pay back money given to them by sponsors based on expected viewers. It is something that shows over time. Feel free to verify that.

    And as I said yesterday, I know people who refused to renew their season tickets. Someone else may have purchased them. I don't know about that.

  • Juice||

    Did NFL viewership decline more than overall TV viewership?

  • Hail Rataxes||

    No, it did not. And merchandise sales are up.

  • Norman Bates' Butler||

    And in the tweet you link to, there is a link to a Yahoo poll that says 62% of fans polled will watch less football.

  • Norman Bates' Butler||

  • Juice||

    The told a pollster they plan to watch less, then they flipped on the TV and watched football.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    Exactly.

  • Norman Bates' Butler||

    "Exactly"

    So your response to the evidence that you yourself provided is that it's a lie.

    Ok.

  • Norman Bates' Butler||

    That may actually be true but the NFL has to rely on numbers, not conjecture.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    You mean numbers like the overall decline in TV viewership matching the decline in NFL viewership, and rising merchandise sales?

  • Norman Bates' Butler||

    Yes, the contracts are written based on number of total viewers, not viewers vs all other shows.

    Overall decline is a red herring.

  • JoeBlow123||

    "You mean numbers like the overall decline in TV viewership matching the decline in NFL viewership, and rising merchandise sales?"

    I just want to make this very explicit. NBA viewership rose over the same period. The TV decline is not uniform across the board, even across sports.

  • Sevo||

    Juice|5.24.18 @ 3:33PM|#
    "The told a pollster they plan to watch less, then they flipped on the TV and watched football."

    When presented with evidence, make up a lie. You must be a lefty.

  • swampwiz||

    THIS

  • Sevo||

    Hail Rataxes|5.24.18 @ 3:19PM|#
    "No, it did not. And merchandise sales are up."

    Which ignores the fact that it is not your skin in the game, therefore:
    It
    Is
    None
    Of
    Your
    Business.
    Fuck off, slaver.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    Well, if as a fan none of this is any of my business, why did the NFL capitulate instead of catering to the will of its black players (72% or so of the League)? Don't say "Trump". That's just lazy. The NFL is a business and makes business decisions, and business decisions are driven primarily by money. If the NFL were not concerned about the effect of all this on their bottom line, they would not have done it. Full stop. So if it is not my/our business explain that to the NFL. No doubt their metrics and analytics are done by incompetent morons who know nothing about it at all.

  • bloviatus the fat||

    And merchandise sales are up.

    Yeah, that's a lie.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    You're definitely not Tulpa.

  • bloviatus the fat||

    And you're definitely not lying.

  • BigT||

    Anyone watch the games? The stands were half empty. Ticket sales were constant, but most of those were purchased before the season. People who had purchased tix decided to stay home . THAT is what bothers the NFL. Season tix sales for 2018 are down.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    I would need to see proof of that. All reports I've heard over the least six months say otherwise.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Referring to merchandise sales increasing.

  • swampwiz||

    Most teams have a very long waiting list of season tickets so ... BYE-BYE.

  • Bearded Spock||

    Yes, yes, we are all aware of the numerous articles from the Media over the past year repeatedly proclaiming "Remain calm, all is well!" a la Kevin Bacon in Animal House.

    But there's an old saying in my neck of the woods: if you want to see what really people believe, and not what they say they believe, then watch what they do, not what they say.

    The NFL's actions yesterday scream loudly to anyone who will listen that the protests were hurting their bottom line and image with their core fan base. Instead of pretending they supported their players like they did last season, they completely caved to Donald Trump and handed him a symbolic but Yuuuge political win.

    These are not the actions of a league that believes its viewership and finances are in an unassailable condition. These are the actions of a league that desperately wants to mend fences with conservative Americans and make the issue go away.

  • ThomasD||

    " watch what they do, not what they say."

    Doesn't matter. At least when you are arguing with leftists like Rataxes. To them it is all about intentions. Acts do not matter, not even acts they might consider good, if done by people upon which they impute mala fides.

    And notice how the argument has now shifted to "why don't they just drop the Anthem?"

    The argument being a form of action. What they do is what they want.

  • Elias Fakaname||

    Funny how they think the anthem should be dropped, but they would never dream of caving on anything important to them. Fuck the progressives. They are an existential enemy of freedom.

  • JoeBlow123||

    NBA tv ratings were up just FYI. Wanted to point this out.

  • gee||

    There is plenty of evidence on both viewer and ticket sales. Publicly the NFL has said revenues were down 10% to 15% and blamed it on people losing interest. The real reason is people found it to be in poor taste for them (NFL) to allow the protest period. You don't lose viewership of that amount without good reason.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    It also doesn't help that, notwithstanding the last Super Bowl, the NFL puts on a lot of crappy games, but that problem is chronic with no solution in sight. As far as competition goes the NFL is about parity and mediocrity not greatness.

  • Headache||

    Tutus WTF are the tutus and ballet slippers.

  • ThomasD||

    The evidence is that they have attempted to stop the behavior through the imposition of punitive fines on any employee who continues.

    Do you have any evidence they did this for reasons other than stopping the behavior?

  • dpbisme||

    Finally someone who gets it.

    I am not a Football watcher but I know those that gave up watching because of the Kneeling.

    This is a business, if they want to protest they do it on their own time.

    And conservatives pointing out that Universities are not allowing differing views is very different than this... they are institutions of learning and are supposed to be providing a liberal education that teaches people to think and not propaganda from one side.

  • Ivivi Premprach||

    I find it particularly interesting that there are people who expect the NFL to kowtow to political agitators that are not customers, and in many cases, would have the NFL put out of business. They are for all intents and purposes the NFL's sociopolitical enemies, and yet people expect the NFL to cut its nose off for them. It is difficult to make sense of that. The NFL is a business, and they care about making money, all other things aside. Any call to higher principles is wasted, for the most part.

  • John||

    Exactly. If you want to blame anyone, blame the people who refused to watch the NFL over this. But I really don't see how you can on the one hand claim to be a champion of free speech, but then on the other hand say those people somehow have an obligation to listen to these protests such that they cannot refuse to buy the product as a result.

  • The Laissez-Ferret||

    I call this the Dixie Chick theory. When you forget your core audience and engage in behavior to please some fringe audience that doesn't really give a shit about you, you're going to lose money. The NFL realized that their core audience either doesn't agree with the kneelers or was turned off by having politics injected in their sport. It was a smart move financially.

  • Wearenotperfect||

    John, it appears that you have neglected the basic point of the article which is basically the notion that what is good for the goose is not always good for the gander. I don't disagree with your stand on the NFL's decision, just so we're clear, but not grasping the basic point the article is making really shows your lack of ability to follow basic dialogue. Hypocrisy is what the article is talking about just so you're aware and the protesters protesting the kneeling protesters better be ready accept the consequences of their hypocrisy, that's simply all the article is saying. Oh yeah, before I forget, I hope your employer makes you recite the Quran every morning before you punch in for work!

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    What consequences? There is no real parallel between this and the issue of treatment of conservative speakers on campus including the Antifa riots to stop Milo and Coulter and others. The parallel if any is this: if you do not like what someone has to say, or is doing, show them the door. If leftists were so benign as to content themselves with that, there would be no real problem. But they are not and never will be.

  • Elston G||

    The snowflake fans are being "antagonized" by players exercising their free speech in protest of racist killer cops in a nonviolent unobtrusive way.
    I say to those aggrievance signalling snowflake ignorant racist pieces of shit to go fuck themselves.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    Well, I suppose we could have an honest discussion about "racist killer cops", but the last thing the NFL players or BLM (or you) want is an honest discussion. So, if the players are going to continue to insist that their "right" to protest in this fashion (demonstrating among other things that to them their cause outweighs simple respect for the flag), then we who disagree with their premise and conclusions have our own "right", that being to show them (and the League) the door. It's not the one who punches back who started the fight.

  • John||

    What do the people butt hurt about this want? Do they want the NFL to lose money so that its employees can antagonize their customers or do they want the people who walked away from the NFL in protest of the protest to come back? Those seem to be the only options available. As far as the first, where the hell do you and French get off telling the NFL that it has to lose money to provide its players a platform? How is that consistent with freedom?

    And as far as the second, how is that consistent with free speech? Don't the people who disagree with the protests have a right to protest themselves by not watching? It would appear that Robby and the rest don't think they do. Yeah they do. And the fact that you don't agree with their opinion means exactly jack and shit. This is what losing a culture war issue looks like. Too bad.

  • Citizen X||

    It's butt hurt all the way 'round.

  • Rhywun||

    And it's not even tax season.

  • Citizen X||

    Tell that to the difference between Gross and Net on my pay stub.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Butt hurt makes the world go 'round.

  • Citizen X||

    Butts that aren't hurtin' are the loneliest butts.

  • Just Say'n||

    Well done

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    I think Nietzsche was the first to make this observation.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Yes but fat bottomed butt hurt is necessary for the rockin' world to go 'round

  • John||

    At the heart of this is people saying "I don't like it when someone doesn't stand for the anthem and I can find better things to do with my time and money than give it to people who won't". I really don't see what is objectionable to that. No one is saying that these players can't protest or are trying to stop them. They are just saying they are not going to pay to watch them do it. Yet, somehow Robby sees that as being anti-free speech. My not wanting to listen to you and saying "have fun doing whatever you want but I am not going to hang around and be a part of it" is by Robby's logic my objecting to your right to say something.

    That is bullshit. Robby is just pissed people have different politics and views than he does and choose to express them. But it is everyone else who has a problem with free speech somehow.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    I can't wait for "butthurt" to be included in the Oxford Dictionary.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    You're in luck, it's in the online version.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Well, I'll be damned.

    Are we not living in the most beautiful time in history?

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    Beauty is in the little brown eye of the beholder.

  • Rhywun||

    I'm not sure what the point of this piece was other than to blame Trump for... something.

  • John||

    The root of the problem is that a group of people said they were not going to watch the NFL if this stuff went on. I am pretty sure that is their right to do that. But I guess you only have free speech if you hold the right views.

  • Dace Highlander||

    I disagree. The root of this piece was that "Trump tweeted something and he's just so mean, " so it must be his fault rather than the fact that the NFL was loosing advertising dollars faster than season ticket holders.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    "the NFL was loosing advertising dollars faster than season ticket holders"

    lol @ the fever dreams of conservatives

  • John||

    Because you know more about the NFL's business than they do. The NFL thinks it was. Why should we not believe them?

  • Norman Bates' Butler||

    I gave him plenty of evidence and his response was "they're lying."

    SMH.

  • John||

    The NFL is lying and taking action that will cost them money because that iis just how they are.

    For people like him the facts must always fit the narrative. What a fucking dope.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    No, my response was "they've literally not even claimed that."

  • John||

    Then don't watch the NFL. If you are right, they will start allowing the protests to get your business.

  • Norman Bates' Butler||

    Juice|5.24.18 @ 3:33PM|#

    The told a pollster they plan to watch less, then they flipped on the TV and watched football.

    reply to this report spam
    Hail Rataxes|5.24.18 @ 3:35PM|#

    Exactly.

    I really don't understand why you think you can lie about something you posted in this thread. I guess it seems to be your thing?

  • Hail Rataxes||

    "People never lie to pollsters." --H&R commenter

  • Norman Bates' Butler||

    So you did make the claim that they were lying. Why did you then deny it?

  • Norman Bates' Butler||

    You know, in keeping with my post about people of dubious honesty, I will also say good day to you.

  • Sevo||

    "dubious" is entirely too kind.
    "Fucking liar" is probably close.

  • MasterThief||

    That seems to be a trend in the media. Unfortunately, here at Reason an ever growing number of articles seem to be following that same trend of finding something to use as a means to complain about Trump.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    The protesters entered the realm of politics with their choice of protest. The president used this easy target for political gain. Hate the game, not the player.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    This is what losing a culture war issue looks like. Too bad.

    How many people now wish they had said that to you after Obergefell, I wonder?

  • John||

    Oberfell involved the government forcing people to do things. This is just people turning off their television sets and the NFL trying to win them back. If this upsets you, don't watch the NFL. It is not hard. If you were anything but a fascist retard, you would do that and stop worrying about how other people run their businesses.

  • Sam Haysom||

    Basically the cultural left has gotten so addicted to being able to rub the culture war in the right and center's face that they are now suffering painful withdrawal at the prospect of losing just one opportunity to do so. So basically the same culture leftist libertarians are being snowflakes about no longer being able to jam their agenda down middle america's throats. This is the equivalent of someone complaining that they can't call gay people queers anymore except its even more repugnant because the left thinks they should be able to arrogate the platform of the NFL (something the vast majority of them already despise) to serve their needs . So its like a person complaining that the WNBA doesn't let mascots at WNBA games mock gay people in their seats and that gay people are a bunch of snowflakes for supporting the WNBA's policy.
    Also the only thing Reason hates with the intensity that they love open borders is cops.

  • John||

    That is absolutely the case. Imagine if a born again Christian WNBA player started wearing some anti gay shirt on team trips or during warmups. The WNBA would of course have a stroke and pound the person. And you couldn' t blame them because not doing that would cost them a ton of money. But no way in hell would Robby be all bent out of shape about it.

  • Generalissimo||

    I am a part-time lurker on here but it seems like all I read from the Reason writers is the anti-libertarian take on just about everything.

    What is it I am missing about this supposedly libertarian website?

    How is is the people that are in charge are often the antithesis of what I believe a libertarian is and is there a different website that isn't continually trying to tell everyone what to do and that Trump is the devil?

    Why can't the NFL make its own policies? I can't stand the kneeling and posturing of these multi-millionaires doing nothing but virtue signaling. I haven't seen one of them take on a single core issue in the inner-cities and gun violence. The NFL is a business and certainly should be able to tell their players that the game is football not politics for the benefit of their paying customers.

    Can a McDonald's worker take a knee when they are taking my order to protest their oppression of serving a white man a hamburger? I don't think so.

  • Generalissimo||

    I am a part-time lurker on here but it seems like all I read from the Reason writers is the anti-libertarian take on just about everything.

    What is it I am missing about this supposedly libertarian website?

    How is is the people that are in charge are often the antithesis of what I believe a libertarian is and is there a different website that isn't continually trying to tell everyone what to do and that Trump is the devil?

    Why can't the NFL make its own policies? I can't stand the kneeling and posturing of these multi-millionaires doing nothing but virtue signaling. I haven't seen one of them take on a single core issue in the inner-cities and gun violence. The NFL is a business and certainly should be able to tell their players that the game is football not politics for the benefit of their paying customers.

    Can a McDonald's worker take a knee when they are taking my order to protest their oppression of serving a white man a hamburger? I don't think so.

  • Sam Haysom||

    This is what losing a culture war issue looks like. Too bad.

    Your last line hints at the answer to your opening question. What people (leftist) want is for people to hate their country as much as your average reason writer does. They aren't use to losing culture wars skirmishes and part of them knows they've so out kicked their coverage that a lot of the ensuing culture war skirmishes are probably going to go the rights way. But they are trapped in a virtue signal cycle of one upping each other.

  • Juice||

    What do the people butt hurt about this want?

    For everyone to stand at attention during the national anthem.

  • John||

    Thanks for admitting you don't have an answer to that question. But in case you want to try again, what do you want? For the NFL to lose money so their players can have a platform or for people to pay for a product even though it comes with a message they don't like?

    Which is it?

  • Juice||

    Guy. It's obvious to everyone you're the one who really really cares about this issue. You're the one getting butthurt when people don't stand at attention for the anthem. I'm sure someone out there cares that the NFL is stopping the players from kneeling on the field, but it ain't me.

  • John||

    I didn't stop watching the NFL last year. I don't care that they protested. But I also don't care that people stopped watching as a result. Those people have free speech too.

    And I am anything but butthurt over this issue. I am very happy. I am enjoying watching Welch and Soave cry over this. It is also fun to watch people's hypocrisy exposed as the very thing that they claim to believe in, "the market deciding who does what" results in something they don't like.

    This is just the market speaking. You should be happy about that. I sure am. And that is not because I really care whether these people stand for the anthem.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    Do you not read the article or just fail to comprehend their point? Nobody is saying that the NFL can't do what they did or that the market response is inappropriate. Nobody is saying kneeling during a national anthem at a football game is protected speech, or that people shouldn't be free to refuse to watch someone kneel at a game.

    They're saying that the people who are offended by someone kneeling during the anthem or refuse to watch the NFL over the issue, are precious snowflakes who can't stand when someone doesn't agree with their worldview. They're no better than the SJWs that most of them ridicule as precious snowflakes.

  • John||

    They're saying that the people who are offended by someone kneeling during the anthem or refuse to watch the NFL over the issue, are precious snowflakes who can't stand when someone doesn't agree with their worldview.

    So people have no right to walk away and not listen to speech they don't like? You are saying they were wrong to refuse to buy a product because it came with a political message they disagreed with. Who the hell are you to say they are wrong for doing that? Are they under some kind of obligation to only make decisions that coincide with your tastes?

    Since when is saying "no thanks I don't want to pay for a political message I don't like" being a snowflake?

    Are you capable of respecting anyone else' decision or actions? Really?

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    "So people have no right to walk away and not listen to speech they don't like? "

    Of course they do.

    "Since when is saying "no thanks I don't want to pay for a political message I don't like" being a snowflake?"

    Who is really hurt in any way (except maybe their pwecious feelings) when someone kneels during the anthem? It's either a form of "patriotic" virtue signaling, or it's truly demanding not to see something that doesn't fit your worldview... aka "snowflake" behavior

    "Are you capable of respecting anyone else' decision or actions? Really?"

    I respect their right to make whatever decisions, but I don't need to respect anybody's decision if it's dumb. Not watching a football game only because somebody wants to kneel during the anthem is a dumb decision, but I respect your right to make it. Having to go to a safe space on a college campus because your professor is a Trump supporter is also dumb.

  • John||

    Your position seems to be that refusing to buy a product because it comes with a political message you don't like makes you a "precious snowflake"? So tell me, how often do you buy products that come with people preaching to you about socialism and other things you can't stand? You must do that a lot right? You are not a snowflake right?

  • The Laissez-Ferret||

    And he would be wrong. People watching other shows or not buying products endorsed by the NFL isn't the same as SJW in college assaulting and interrupting speakers and their supporters.

    if i asked you whether you'd like me to punch you in the face and scream like a child or simply ignore you, would your response be "Either way, it's pretty much the same thing."?

  • John||

    Laissex-Ferret,

    Ultimately, Lev and others on this thread just can't come to terms with the fact that people disagree with them about the anthem and have every right to not buy the NFL's product. When they say "you are just being a snowflake", they are lying because they would never buy a product that came with a political message that offended them. What they are saying is "why can't you just have the right opinion you dumb hillbilly?" That is all that is going on here.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    No. I personally think that the kneeling during the anthem is a dumb way to protest police brutality. It doesn't accomplish anything beside pissing off the very people that you need to convince to stop worshiping the police (ie the political right in this country).

    I just can't get over the hypocrisy of someone who would need to turn off the tv or leave the stadium after they saw someone kneel during the anthem, yet call a college student a snowflake for needing a safe space of their own.

  • bloviatus the fat||

    I just can't get over the hypocrisy of someone who would need to turn off the tv or leave the stadium after they saw someone kneel during the anthem, yet call a college student a snowflake for needing a safe space of their own.

    There's your problem, you don't understand "need" vs "want."

  • John||

    There's your problem, you don't understand "need" vs "want."

    Bingo.

  • John||

    I just can't get over the hypocrisy of someone who would need to turn off the tv or leave the stadium after they saw someone kneel during the anthem, yet call a college student a snowflake for needing a safe space of their own.

    The two situations are different. The point of college is to be exposed to ideas and have debates so that you can learn. You don't go to a football game to do that. So, saying "I don't want politics with my football" is not the same thing as saying "I don't want ideas I disagree with with my education". They are two entirely different situations.

    Ultimately, you just don't like the people who are doing this and can't bring yourself to say there is nothing wrong with what they did. The irony here is that despite what you probably think, I am not one of those people. I didn't stop watching the NFL over this. I don't care. But I totally understand how someone would and I don't blame them for not wanting to give the NFL their time and money just to hear politics they don't like and have nothing to do with the product. That is the difference between you and I. I honestly think people have a right to their opinion and am okay with them expressing it even if I don't like them or your opinion. You, despite your pretentions otherwise really do.

  • James Smith||

    The difference is simple, and there are several possibilities:

    Some people do not want to financially support political speech that they oppose. Turning off the channel is their form of protest, and their way of not financially supporting the speech they disagree with.

    Some people might just get irritated that politics is being shoved down their throat by someone that gets paid a significant salary to play a game, when they just want to enjoy a football game after working their own ass off all week for a significantly smaller salary.

    I'm sure there are other possibilities.

    College student snowflakes are those that consider themselves to be injured by the "violence" of the speech to which they disagree, so they need to go someplace else so they are not exposed to that "violence".

    do you see the difference?

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    The problem with your take about the right and cops is that the people who enable cop abuse with extra-judicial protections in union contracts in our cities are almost 100% progs. I suppose there are a couple bigger cities run by non progs but only a couple. Apparently these city council types love union cash over constituent concerns over these po po problemos. Why don't the NFL dudes show up at city council meetings when these contracts are discussed? I wonder.....

  • ThomasD||

    " It doesn't accomplish anything beside pissing off the very people that you need to convince to stop worshiping the police (ie the political right in this country)."

    By equating 'people who are tired of the politicization of everything, and would like to keep something the way it has been' with 'the political right' you've largely defined the'right' as anyone 'not hard left.'

    Not sure that is a super productive way to do things, but it is the way the hard left wants things.

  • Elston G||

    Seeing a man kneeling in silent nonviolent protest and becoming aggrieved or antagonized, is the textbook definition of being a punk snowflake.

  • AustinRoth||

    I am so sick of people on both sides of the argument mis-stating the First Amendment.

    The First Amendment only covers government, not private employers, on political speech.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Actually, technically it only covers Congress.

  • Just Say'n||

    Not true. Reason reminds everyone of that fact every time a private company decides to attack gun rights or fires someone for not being part of Leftist group think. It's just that sometimes it's different for reasons.

    Robby hits the right sweet spot here, though.

  • Rhywun||

    "The NFL ban on kneeling is absolutely awful and I hate it. It is anti free speech."

    I don't think you're the target audience of the NFL, hon.

    And FFS. Are we expected to believe that NFL would never have done this on their own?

    The government was partly involved in the NFL case, since Trump's displeasure was a motivating factor.

    [cite needed]

  • John||

    Like I say above, since when is people saying "I don't like what you have to say" and just walking away them being "anti free speech"? None of the people who objected to the protests did anything except turn off their TVs and find something else to do. How is that interfering with the players' right to protest or in any way anti-free speech?

  • Don't look at me.||

    Because everyone does what Trump wants. Everyone.

  • MiloMinderbinder||

    Isn't the NFL rule now the same as the existing NBA rule?

    Where is all the outrage over the NBA?

  • JonBlack||

    The NFL didn't "muzzle its players" and suggestions to that effect are absurd. What the NFL did was to insist there players cool it for one minute or so while the host team honors the nation they live in. The players have the entire rest of their existence to shout about whatever they want to. And they only did this for tangible (cash) reasons.

    Given that the NFL won't allow its players to wear their socks in a manner they league doesn't approve of, this was a no-brainer to everyone who doesn't think Barak Obama's taint sweat would make a cool Binaca flavor.

    I appreciate the desperate effort to conflate asking people to hold their water for 60 seconds is akin to assaulting people who disagree with you, but if you want to announce to the world that you aren't very bright, a stickee pinned to your chest with that admission is probably a lot easier. To be sure, however, this article is a lot more effective than the stickee would be.

  • JonBlack||

    there = their

    This place needs an edit feature (at least for me a lousy typist like me.)

    I appreciate the desperate effort to conflate asking people to hold their water for 60 seconds [with] assaulting people who disagree with you

  • A Thinking Mind||

    The comparison to campus speech codes is extremely stretched. The NFL hasn't denied players the right to protest, it just has denied the opportunity to do it during their broadcasts. In short, it's a request to play politics on your own time, not on television, since their customer base at large isn't really interested.

    What's happening on campus in many cases isn't students refusing to go, it's students denying that ANYONE can say something they disagree with. If a mildly controversial speaker comes to campus, they might loudly protest and disrupt anyone else's ability to hear, they might physically attempt to block the entrance, and in some cases are threatening violence against people who want to attend a speech they disagree with.

  • John||

    Exactly. Robby is conflating turning off the TV and refusing to listen to a message you don't like with actively trying to stop the person saying it. I have no right to assault you or prevent you from speaking. But I also have a right to walk away and not hear what you are saying. And that is all the people who disagreed with the protests did. But Robby somehow things they have no right to do that or are doing a bad thing.

  • Elston G||

    Kneeling in silent nonviolent protest during a jingoist authoritarian nationalist ritual is now equal to shouting in your mind?

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    There's plenty of room to criticize Trump and the other state and non-state actors who are pressuring the NFL to suppress the players' speech. But I don't get the criticism of the NFL here. It's they're show. They are entitled to put on a flag salute if they choose, and there is nothing wrong with the NFL directing its employees to refrain from making their own, contradictory statement on its platform. If the players want to express themselves, they are free to do so by any other means. They can even buy airtime during the game, as Tim Tebow did, causing many to go ape-shit.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Could Soave be sussed to explain why on the job is an appropriate place to be protesting police brutality? Or even how that is an effective tactic given how many of the paying audience interpreted it as an unpatriotic gesture completely disconnected from that issue?

    Also, "the government" was not involved in the case. Trump was doing his usual stream of consciousness trolling. The man is not the office, please stop treating it as if it was.

  • Tony||

    Perhaps people should only protest police brutality in places and times when nobody's paying attention.

    Brought to you by skeptics of government!

  • Juice||

    Brought to you by skeptics of government!

    Most of the commenters in this thread are pro-government conservatives.

  • John||

    Go find me one post where I ever was not critical of police or didn't support police accountability? You won't find one. Just because I don't think the NFL owes these clowns a platform doesn't mean I am some pro cop hack.

  • Sevo||

    Juice|5.24.18 @ 3:26PM|#
    "Most of the commenters in this thread are pro-government conservatives."

    It's wonderful when lefty imbeciles make sweeping statements like this! It simply proves their idiocy.

  • dave b.||

    The libertarians are long gone from this site. It's just Red Tonys all the way down

  • Elston G||

    Lefty imbeciles is a sweeping description of more than half the country that you are consciously projecting, in itself.

  • Mickey Rat||

    The players are on the clock and the form of the protests are producing resentment rather than sympathy. Pointing out that it is not the time or place and it is the opposite of effective just should not be done, right?

  • Tony||

    I'd just like to point out that the fat nacho-munching assholes who are offended by the protests and who like it when cops rough up black people, and their fat, stupid, orange leader, are the ones with the actual problem.

  • Mickey Rat||

    There is an issue with police practices that cops are encouraged to have hair triggers when facing any perceived resistance that is getting a lot of people beaten up or worse. The skin color of the people or the cops does not matter much. Or have not been paying attention to those stories here?

  • Tony||

    So what you're saying is black people are better at protesting.

  • bloviatus the fat||

    No one is surprised that you missed that point too Tony.

  • James Smith||

    You cannot be that obtuse. The problem is not so much the message, it's the manner in which the message is being conveyed. Not standing for the anthem is received as being disrespectful to the US and the principles and values on which it was founded as a whole. While police brutality is well worthy of protest itself, the manner of this particular protest is intoning that protest as against the entire nation, and not just those police that are responsible for their own actions.
    Let me give you an example that might make this clearer. Would you protest the coverup of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church by burning a cross on the front lawn of a Catholic Church? That manner of protest would not be received well by many that would otherwise be supportive of your cause due to the implications carried by the manner of protest.
    While not completely analogous, not standing for the anthem is perceived as having disdain for the nation, while burning a cross harkens back to the days of lynching slaves. Not standing for a politician that you disagree with would be better received, as was burning a draft card to protest the draft and/or Vietnam war.
    Do you now possibly see that it could be the way they're going about it rather than the specific thing they are protesting?

  • mpercy||

    "You cannot be that obtuse."

    He works very hard to be intentionally that obtuse.

  • Elston G||

    Kneeling in non-violent silent protest is absolutely nothing like KKK type of cross burning terrorism.

    Try again.

  • Elston G||

    Not standing for the flag is perceived that way only by ignorant racist authoritarian following jingoistic punks.
    Basically Fox News watching cultists
    They should be marginalized as useless pieces of shit they are.

  • Nelson.||

    Great point James Smith, people are very critical of the players choice and the issue, but it would be good to give ideas on a better way to protest the issue, that would garner more support. No one has yet produce ideas that's why I believe they still kneel because the kneeling gets the attention and the dialog going. But at some point, we need to move forward and the question is what does moving forward look like? It cant be to forget about the matter but to move forward to fix an issue that affects Americans and their love for the sport. Owners had voweled to support players and take an active roll in minority communities that was a good start. this new rule change I don't know it feels more like a checking, like a non-verbal way of saying get in line or be punished. We just have to wait and see what happens...

  • Violent Sociopath||

    I'd just like to point out that Tony is a demented bigot and an asshole.

  • Elston G||

    Resentment to one segment of American society. The deplorable racist bigot segment.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    What do you think "sussed" means?

  • Just Say'n||

    If there had been as much indignation on this website for the numerous times that the private sector has been employed to silence the "spirit of free speech" I don't think there would be as many commentators rolling their eyes at the blatant double standard. "We're not conservative" is not an ideology and often leads you to make very anti-liberty positions.

    Decent article Robby. Far less hypocritical than "newly woke" Matt Welch's screed.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Google, Mozilla, and Yale are all private too. Yet conservatives see nothing wrong with bemoaning these entities' internal crackdowns on speech.

    I think there's a bit of an important distinction between, say, the case of Damore case and this. The kneeling players were using the NFL venue as a forum to make their political stance. Damore was making an argument while at his place of employment. While those sound similar, they are different. To get to a parity between the two situations, you'd need to either have the NFL threaten fines for players talking about their political causes, even to other employees, while at work or you'd need to have Damore posting his argument as the home page for Google.

  • Just Say'n||

    "Damore was making an argument while at his place of employment."

    And after the company asked for employee input on the matter.

    You're right that it is a false equivalency.

  • John||

    And you would also have to show some business reason why Google or Yale or Mozilla or any of these people did what they did. The Mozilla example is the most analogous. In that case, Mozilla could really say that the CEO's presence was costing them money. Even then the analogy still fails. IN that case leftists were demanding the CEO's head because of his political activities that went on outside of work. That is not what happened here. NFL players have made political statements and been involved in political causes off the field for years and no one cared. It was only when they brought politics onto the field and made it a part of the customer experience that people walked away. To make the Mozilla example analogous, the CEO would have had to put anti- gay marriage statements on the Mozilla homepage or as pop ups on the Fire Fox browser or done something that forced those doing business with Mozilla to hear about his politics.

    So none of Robby's analogies work. This is a case of customers deciding they didn't like the political message that was coming with the product and deciding not to buy the product as a result. Once that happened, then the NFL had every right to kill off the political message. Robby only has an issue with it because he doesn't like the result.

  • Norman Bates' Butler||

    It's probably as close as Soave can get, he has a preferred rhetorical style that involves some form of "a pox on both their houses" and he adheres to it rather steadfastly.

  • MasterThief||

    Yes and no. He adheres to it in order to downplay bad actions of the left while agreeing with their sentiments. He does it against the right while vehemently disagreeing with the sentiments and also being less inclined to put it in perspective with equal examples from the other side.
    I mostly agree with you, but think it obvious that Robby has a strong bias in favor of the left (in part supported by his regular references to Vox)

  • John||

    Robby has one move as a writer; false equivalence between the left and right. Everything he writes is some turn on that theme.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    Yup. Based on the Damore case Google is subject to criticism for not being willing to tolerate discussions of gender backed by science in any forum whatsoever, even when it has encouraged conversation on the subject. The NFL is subject to criticism for being unwilling to tolerate discussion of police brutality during the national anthem. Big difference.

  • John||

    The NFL is subject to criticism for being unwilling to tolerate discussion of police brutality during the national anthem.

    Sure, but tolerating that criticism was costing them money. So how can you criticize them for not wanting to antagonize their fan base? Is it the NFL's job to lose money so that its players can discuss police brutality? I don't see how you can say that it is consistent with freedom and private property.

    If it was the case that not firing Danmore cost Google money, then I don't see how you can blame them. In that case, the blame lies with their employees or customers who could not tolerate hearing his views.

    It is the same thing here. If you don't like this, blame the people who walked away because of the protests. But what is your criticism of them here other than they hold a different opinion than you? I don't see how there is anything wrong with refusing to buy a product that comes with a message you don't like. Indeed, isn't the freedom not to listen also an essential part of free speech?

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    To be clear, I don't think criticizing the NFL for not allowing the anthem to be used to air the personal opinions of the players holds much water. The Google or Mozilla analogies only work if the companies were insisting that Damore or Eich refrain from expressing controversial views during meetings on other subjects, something I think would be much more reasonable.

  • James Pollock||

    "I don't think criticizing the NFL for not allowing the anthem to be used to air the personal opinions of the players holds much water."

    It's shortsighted. The nerve of these guys, using their fame to draw attention to a social issue that has nothing at all to do with football... it's cutting into the marketing and costing us money! Of course, the interest in the game comes directly... from... the... players. We tried putting on games with whoever we could find (AKA the "replacement players") and, say, NFL, how did that turn out for you?

    Maybe the league could get together with the broadcasters to put out a text overlay that says "the NFL supports (whatever their PR says they need to support to keep the ratings up) but also supports players' expression of their opinions" and maybe get the players, individually or through the union, to spell out exactly what they are protesting for or against.

  • bloviatus the fat||

    That makes the stupid assumption that all of the players are on board, which of course is moronic. I'm quite certain many of them would happily get paid and do their politicking on their own time.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Pollock is all about stupid assumptions. I think he learned from artie poo.

  • James Pollock||

    "Pollock is all about stupid assumptions. I think he learned from artie poo."

    Clearly, I'm not in your class.

  • James Pollock||

    "That makes the stupid assumption that all of the players are on board"

    Who, exactly, is making this assumption? It seems to be you. I explicitly referred to individuals making statements, and nowhere suggested that anyone was speaking for anyone else. Suggesting that the different groups and individuals involved might like to make their own statements, instead of having other people assume they know what the protests are about... that's the opposite of what you're complaining of.

    Twit.

  • Elston G||

    Just because you declare kneeling in protest of racist killer cops, is a" political stance" doesn't make it so.
    Got it?

  • Elston G||

    Just because you declare kneeling in protest of racist killer cops, is a" political stance" doesn't make it so.
    Got it?

  • Elston G||

    Just because you declare kneeling in protest of racist killer cops, is a" political stance" doesn't make it so.
    Got it?

  • Elston G||

    Just because you declare kneeling in protest of racist killer cops, is a" political stance" doesn't make it so.
    Got it?

  • ||

    Would it be cogent to point out that the whole National Anthem is the NFL's idea in the first place and that it wasn't snowflakes asking them to? How about that this very sort of Nationalism is what the Olympics is *supposed* to be and why we play the victor's National Anthem at the podium/medal ceremony?

    Honestly, it's hard to tell who the bigger snowflakes are. The people walking away because they don't want to pay to watch people like Kaepernick kneel (or even play football as it turns out) or the people who are offended that the others don't want to.

  • John||

    How are the people walking away doing anything wrong? Are they under some obligation to watch the NFL? If you don't like something, isn't it your right not to listen to it? Unless you are willing to say that people have no right to turn off a message they don't agree with, I don't see how you can call them snowflakes.

  • ||

    Unless you are willing to say that people have no right to turn off a message they don't agree with, I don't see how you can call them snowflakes.

    I do think there's a case to be made that the people walking away from football because Kaepernick took a knee or isn't allowed to take a knee aren't really that into football. Not exactly a political criticism. Like anyone who refused to watch the Super Bowl because of any given halftime show or commercial is a hyper-sensitive snowflake.

    How many times has Justin Timberlake ruined the superbowl since he accidentally exposed Janet Jackson's nipple breast mammary region?

  • John||

    They did not walk away from football. Just professional football. If it is the case that they were not into football in the first place, that shows that they are not snowflakes. Being a snowflake is being overly offended by something. Being mildly offended and walking away from something you didn't really care about in the first place is not being overly offended.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    lol

  • ||

    Being a snowflake is being overly offended by something. Being mildly offended and walking away from something you didn't really care about in the first place is not being overly offended.

    OK, somewhere in between snow is capable of forming. I'm not saying anybody has to watch everything the NFL broadcasts, but if you claim(ed) to love football and bailed because Kapernick took a knee or the NFL enacted policy in response, there's a decent chance that you were lying. The difference between a bona fide snowflake and just a fairweather friend can sometimes be hard to distinguish. Not that it's wrong to pivot away from football as the sport or the politics change, just that large pivot like not watching any games at all in response to a trivial change that's not integral to the game seems to be overly offended. The NFL salivates over minute-to-minute ratings, they'll notice if 30% of their viewership or whatever doesn't show up until just after the anthem or kickoff or whatever.

  • Sevo||

    "Not that it's wrong to pivot away from football as the sport or the politics change, just that large pivot like not watching any games at all in response to a trivial change that's not integral to the game seems to be overly offended."

    The NFL may be wrong, but it remains the NFL's decision to make.

  • ||

    The NFL may be wrong, but it remains the NFL's decision to make.

    Agreed. That said, to borrow a trope: If you were waiting on the decision (either way) to decide whether you'd watch another NFL game or not, you might be a snowflake.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    I do think there's a case to be made that the people walking away from football because Kaepernick took a knee or isn't allowed to take a knee aren't really that into football.

    If a large percentage of the NFL's audience is "not really that into football", that's a whole other problem for the NFL. And it is a large percentage if they're instating this policy.

  • Rhywun||

    Any suggestion of removing the anthem will go over about as well as removing references to God that were also added after the fact to money and to the Pledge of Allegiance. I.e. like a lead balloon.

  • John||

    Juice was on here claiming that the NFL could just get rid of the anthem and no one would notice as long as they were quiet about it. I honestly wonder what universe people live in sometimes.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    So....you're saying conservatives are pathetic snowflake losers then?

  • John||

    So you are saying people don't have a right to demand what they want from someone selling them a product?

  • Hail Rataxes||

    No, I'm saying if your demand is for the national anthem, you're a fucking loser.

  • John||

    I never stopped watching the NFL. So it is not my demand. Beyond that, who gives a shit what you think? Go fuck yourself. No one fucking cares or has any obligation to change because you don't like something. You are a hateful moron. You are dumber than Tony.

  • Sevo||

    Hail Rataxes|5.24.18 @ 3:38PM|#
    "No, I'm saying if your demand is for the national anthem, you're a fucking loser."

    Who are you to tell anyone what they should prefer?

  • ThomasD||

    What he's saying is that anyone who even tolerates the presence of the Anthem must be a conservative.

  • Elston G||

    Anyone who is is authoritarian following and nationalistic and has jingoistic military fetishes running in their mind, who demand that Americans stand at attention to a flag like an authoritarian useful idiot?

    Only one personality that fits that is a conservative in this country.

  • Juice||

    I said that if the Kaepernick thing had never happened, they might have been able to gradually and quietly drop it and it wouldn't have been that big of a deal. Now that the kneeling controvery has gone on for a couple of years, it could never happen obviously.

  • ||

    It would've been and still could be dead simple to sportscast remotely and cut in after the anthem and, I suspect, a massive amount of viewers wouldn't know the difference. You could even do it regionally. I'm a mediocre fan and my kickoff/game viewing rate is probably somewhere around 20% for pro, 40% for college, and correlates inversely with the number of games watched simultaneously or in any given day.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    They go to commercial during regular season games when the anthem is playing. So hardly an issue.I don't care one way or the other about playing it pre game. Most people aren't really paying attention anyway, but now that it's front and center in the kultur wars the NFL wouldn't dare not play it.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    They go to commercial during regular season games when the anthem is playing. So hardly an issue.I don't care one way or the other about playing it pre game. Most people aren't really paying attention anyway, but now that it's front and center in the kultur wars the NFL wouldn't dare not play it.

  • Longtobefree||

    Actually, Mythbusters did float a a lead balloon. Just for the information.

  • Rhywun||

    That was a great episode. I love the ones that lean toward the absurd, rather than just blowing shit up.

  • Mickey Rat||

    And they determined lead was a terrible material to make a balloon out of.

  • VinniUSMC||

    If "Lead is a terrible material to make a balloon out of" was the myth they were testing, you would have made a good point. Unfortunately for you, it's not, and you didn't.

  • DaveSs||

    Teams that allow players to publicly protest racism and police brutality will be subject to fines

    Uh, that's not what the policy is.

    The policy is "you can't use the game as your personal soap box"

  • A Thinking Mind||

    Many of these players are not actively involved in social issues at all. I remember seeing that Colin Kaepernick interview where he basically told us that "racism is bad and it needs to stop." Which isn't very insightful and didn't demonstrate much awareness of what's going on, especially when he said he doesn't even vote.

    Kneeling during the anthem isn't joining the discussion, it's just grandstanding. I'd much prefer if these guys took their own time to develop reasoned ideas to share. There's no lack of reporters interested in hearing what they have to say.

  • Rhywun||

    Good catch.

    "Oops!"

  • Bill Dalasio||

    The policy is "you can't use the game as your personal soap box"

    Precisely my point. The game is there as an entertainment for fans. That's why the players are getting paid by the NFL team owners. It's not unreasonable to suggest that the team owners aren't obligated to pay their employees to co-opt the attention that is being paid to them while they are being paid to perform a specific task to push their own agenda.

  • DaveSs||

    Especially when they are co-opting attention in a manner that is likely to alienate the fans who ultimately are the reason they have the money to play the damn game in the first place.

  • ThomasD||

    "Teams that allow players to publicly protest racism and police brutality will be subject to fines"

    Yeah, that is inaccurate to the point of dishonesty. Players could arrange an participate in all manner of protests - outside of the actual game - and not face any sanction from the league.

    Hell, they could probably get away with pre-arranged tweets announcing the demonstration appearing during game time. We all know full well that those sorts of acts would get attention from ESPN and plenty of others.

    I suspect if they all agreed to meet at mid-field after the end of the game for an 'impromptu' show of unity the league wouldn't mind. And the new league policy clearly wouldn't apply either.

    But, noting such things does not advance the preferred narrative. So won't be consider by the likes of Soave.

  • Elston G||

    Your citation is missing.

  • Dace Highlander||

    Well it's good that Mr. Soave discounts the rather pronounced ratings drop that the NFL experienced as a motivating factor instead viewing the President's opinion as leading the change. I'm sure that advertisers were really happy that their advertising dollars were putting products in front of decreasing amounts of eyeballs as the season went on.

  • James Pollock||

    In a perfect world, the NFL would have resolved this problem by simply not playing the national anthem before games.

  • Rhywun||

    In a perfect world

    I guess that's another way of saying "never"...

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I'm afraid the customer base would likely on net find this an unpalatable solution as well.

  • Elston G||

    Baseless assertion.

  • ||

    In a perfect world, the NFL would have resolved this problem by simply not playing the national anthem before games.

    'the fuck are you... a Nazi?

  • James Pollock||

    That your mating call?

  • ||

    I should've added a /sarc tag.

    They started playing the anthem at football games in the lead up to WWII. If you think it's hard to stop playing now, imagine when it signified silence in the face of actual Nazis. Personally, as long as they aren't shooting or beating people and have generally abandoned the hardcore socialism/fascism, I don't have much against the Nazis.

  • James Pollock||

    So you're OK with the Nazis, as long as they're not being Nazis about it?

  • JonBlack||

    So, hypothetically of course, if Reason asks Robby to tamp down on his enthusiasm for NAMBLA on each of the blog posts he writes for Reason, would Reason also be "Free Speech Hypocrites?"

    Or would that be the dumbest standard ever?

  • Pro Libertate||

    The NFL is, well, kneeling before public demand on the issue, not whatever wacko tweet Trump has made. I don't much care for public officials commenting on things they don't have the power to do anything about, and there is a possibility that an official even suggesting action against the NFL is chilling speech. That's illegal.

    That said, the NFL is run by morons.

  • John||

    Yes it is. And it still makes billions of dollars a year. Talk about a license to print money.

  • Elston G||

    Operating in a crony capitalism economic environment, not subject to antitrust laws.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    What business lasts long allowing its employees piss off the customers? The phrase the customer is always right isn't to be taken literally. It's a reminder how payroll is met and the lights stay on.

  • Elston G||

    If you think the NFL operates in any kind of economic market like a regular business you're a moron.
    They operate in a specially created crony capitalist environment where Market forces are not applicable and market failure is utilized to their advantage. They are not subject to antitrust laws they are privileged, Elite, and white.

  • MJBinAL||

    While you are correct about the NFL operating in a specially created crony capitalist environment, the refusal of large numbers of customers to come to the games and buy more tickets still hit the bottom line.

    Aren't markets (even flawed ones) wonderful?

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    I don't much care for public officials commenting on things they don't have the power to do anything about

    WTF? So they lose their first amendment rights when they take office? I'd be far more concerned with their commenting on things they DO have power over.

    Anyway, Trump never "suggested action against the NFL".

  • Just Say'n||

    Turns out all that needed to happen for Reason to suddenly care about private acts of censorship was for that censorship to be turned against the Left. Who would have expected this other than literally anyone?

    Decent article, nonetheless, Robby.

    Just one question: can you name a single quarterback currently employed in the NFL?

  • Tony||

    Now everyone has to respect our military

    Fuck you, bitch.

  • John||

    Then don't Tony. Just don't expect someone who disagrees to listen to you or give you a paycheck.

  • Tony||

    What if your employer said you have to respect gay wedding cakes or you get a pay cut? Would you just sit back and say "that's the market!"

    Also, who are you trying to convince that you have any actual principled thoughts on this matter or any other? Nobody believes anything you say John. And whenever you're called out on your hypocrisy, which is regularly, you just say you're being a troll and run away.

  • John||

    What if your employer said you have to respect gay wedding cakes or you get a pay cut? Would you just sit back and say "that's the market!"

    I would be waving a rainbow flag and baking cakes. If not doing that was important to me, I would get another job. My employer doesn't owe me a paycheck. And if what he expects of me compromises my integrity, then I should get another job.

    These issues are not hard Tony. You just can't understand them because you think everyone is as stupid and craven as you are.

  • Tony||

    I'm just someone who believes in freedom qua freedom and not simply freedom from government. Football players are high profile. They are protesting this way because it gets them attention. If you really are a government skeptic and a lover of freedom, the only person you'd be pissed at is the orange-faced baboon throwing a bitch fit over people exercising their freedom to protest brutality by the state.

  • John||

    Great. And them doing so is costing their employers money. Why do their employers have to lose money to give them a platform?

  • Tony||

    There's no evidence of that. Football viewership is down because pay-TV viewership is down across the board and because it doesn't have any star quarterbacks enjoying record-breaking careers or popular teams doing well at the moment as it did during its peak a few years ago.

    And the market is simply your lame excuse for taking the socon (i.e., pro–police brutality) side of this. So try something else.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|5.24.18 @ 3:34PM|#
    "...Football viewership is down because pay-TV viewership is down across the board and because it doesn't have any star quarterbacks enjoying record-breaking careers or popular teams doing well at the moment as it did during its peak a few years ago..."

    See, John? Our resident lefty shitpile knows everything about marketing!

  • John||

    The evidence of that is the NFL. They know their business better than you. And they say it did. Beyond that, they get the final say. If they are wrong, well they just cost themselves money. But it is their call not yours. And even if it were your call, you know absolutely nothing about the subject other than what you want to believe.

  • Tony||

    Anyone saying football viewership is down largely because of Colin Kaepernick is taking a side on the culture wars in favor of police brutality. As a libertarian I find this heartily distasteful and will not have it.

  • John||

    Anyone saying football viewership is down largely because of Colin Kaepernick is taking a side on the culture wars in favor of police brutality.

    That is what the NFL is doing. Don't watch them. The NFL saw this as costing them money. They didn't do this because they wanted to. It was a business decision. If you think they are wrong and you know better. call them up and offer your services. You are such a fucking nasty retard, the idea that someone might know more about their business than you do never occurs to you because all facts must conform to your politics. God you are hideous.

  • Tony||

    I expect businesses to take a psychopathic profit-centric approach to the world, disregarding all ethical and social concerns except when forced by public policy or pressure. I don't have to celebrate it.

    Most of us work for a living. If freedom is only something we get to enjoy in the privacy of our homes after work hours and as long as we're not committing a crime, then how much freedom do we actually have?

    Also, cops should stop shooting and brutalizing black people. Just in case the point was getting lost.

  • John||

    Yes, Tony, you expect everyone to only act in ways you approve. You hate freedom and can't stand it when someone gets to do something you don't like. Tough shit. The world doesn't work that way thank God.

  • Mickey Rat||

    You do realize thst public policy demands that publically traded companies maximize profit in the interests of their shareholders.

  • MJBinAL||

    public policy .... and common sense.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    If freedom is only something we get to enjoy in the privacy of our homes after work hours and as long as we're not committing a crime, then how much freedom do we actually have?

    So, your estimate is that you have the right to enslave your employer to provide you with a platform to push your political ideas. Reason 456,798,732 never to even think of hiring Tony.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|5.24.18 @ 3:58PM|#
    "I expect businesses to take a psychopathic profit-centric approach to the world,..."
    That's because you're a fucking imbecile.

    "Most of us work for a living. If freedom is only something we get to enjoy in the privacy of our homes after work hours and as long as we're not committing a crime, then how much freedom do we actually have?"
    Uh, did your mommy tell you that made sense?

    "Also, cops should stop shooting and brutalizing black people. Just in case the point was getting lost."
    Don't see any disagreement regarding that, except the voices in your head.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "If freedom is only something we get to enjoy in the privacy of our homes after work hours and as long as we're not committing a crime, then how much freedom do we actually have?"

    Hobby Lobby and Masterpiece Cakes will be pleased that you support their positions.

  • BlueStarDragon||

    "Tony|5.24.18 @ 3:48PM|#

    Anyone saying football viewership is down largely because of Colin Kaepernick is taking a side on the culture wars in favor of police brutality. As a libertarian I find this heartily distasteful and will not have it"

    Tony this is your worst lie yet, We all know you are a commie.

  • Norman Bates' Butler||

    "There's no evidence of that."

    All of the evidence I posted in this thread disagrees.

  • Tony||

    I couldn't give a shit less about football or their ratings or how much subsidized profits they make. I do give a shit about cops being donut-munching jackbooted psychopaths. Is that not the actual libertarian issue here?

  • Norman Bates' Butler||

    As long as you stop insisting there is no evidence of something when I provided evidence, then yes we can continue. Otherwise, I would be having a conversation with a person of dubious honesty, and I think we can both agree what a waste of time that is.

  • Tony||

    This could be a great moment for social activism increasing the actual physical freedom of human beings, but you guys toss that opportunity aside in order to be useless bean counters and defenders of the status quo--which, with its flyovers and anthems and fucking presidents demanding things of private enterprises is hardly apolitical.

  • Norman Bates' Butler||

    Ok, you're a person of dubious honesty, take care, and have a nice day.

  • Tony||

    Your evidence is flimsy.

  • Sevo||

    "This could be a great moment for social activism increasing the actual physical freedom of human beings, but you guys toss that opportunity aside in order to be useless bean counters and defenders of the status quo--which, with its flyovers and anthems and fucking presidents demanding things of private enterprises is hardly apolitical."

    You mean defenders of businesses to make their own choices? Instead, we should be like you and that idiot rataxes and demand businesses do what they find to be harmful to their interests?
    Yep, real 'libertarian', right there, you pile of shit.

  • Tony||

    So you were totally silent when this business chose to allow the protests, right?

  • Sevo||

    Tony|5.24.18 @ 4:45PM|#
    "So you were totally silent when this business chose to allow the protests, right?"

    No, I pointed out that, as a business, they were welcome to allow it.
    Even though I am of the opinion that Kaepernick started doing so as a personal promo attempt rather than any conviction on his part.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    the actual physical freedom of human beings

    Tony's much desired freedom to enslave other to provide him a platform and audience.

  • MJBinAL||

    This would be a good time for your mama to cut off your allowance, kick you out of the house, and for you to get an actual job.

    Alas, it is apparently not to be.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Except there really is no connection betwern policing reform and kneeling during the anthem in the NFL pregame.

  • Norman Bates' Butler||

    Except, perhaps, the implication that the NFL kneeling harmed the growing momentum towards police reform by making it a race issue. I'll freely admit that is my own feeling, not something I have any solid evidence to support.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    I couldn't give a shit less about football or their ratings or how much subsidized profits they make.

    Ah, so, you were lying through your teeth when you said they weren't losing money over it.

  • Tony||

    If they're losing money it's because viewers are being ignorant snowflakes at best. Or maybe they are upset that police are getting scrutiny for killing black people. Why are the protesters having to take all the heat? What about the fucking president injecting his unwelcome opinion into the matter? Isn't that the one thing that should be a focus here--government coercion?

  • bloviatus the fat||

    What about the fucking president injecting his unwelcome opinion into the matter?

    His opinion didn't seem unwelcome to the fans who agreed with him.

    Isn't that the one thing that should be a focus here--government coercion?

    Ok, let's focus on it. There was none. Unless you count the money the NFL got paid by the armed forces, but seeing as how you didn't bring that up at all, I have to assume you don't have a problem with it.

    Are you done with your "I just lost a culture battle so I have to pretend to caring about libertarianism" tantrum now?

    Good talk!

  • Tony||

    I'm about nose deep in disingenuous bullshit about now.

    Are you saying you're on the side of police brutality? Is that the culture war battle you won?

    Congratulations!

  • bloviatus the fat||

    I'm about nose deep in disingenuous bullshit about now.

    That appears to be entirely self-inflicted

    Are you saying you're on the side of police brutality?

    And you can't seem to stop.

    Is that the culture war battle you won?

    Who said anything about me winning? YOU LOST. That's why you are upset. It's obvious.

    Glad I could explain it for you!

  • Tony||

    Actually I didn't lose because now this issue won't be wedged into the diseased imaginations of cousinfucking Trump supporters come November. They're going to have to find some other brown person to be hysterical about.

    Do we not understand that the protest is about police brutality and not the right of black men to rape your daughters? Yes? Hello?

  • bloviatus the fat||

    Actually I didn't lose

    Your unrestrained bitching seems to indicate otherwise.

    Do we not understand that the protest is about police brutality

    I believe that you are stupid enough to believe this.

    Glad I could help!

  • Tony||

    Uh... so what do you think it's about?

    And is the content of the protest the reason you don't like it?

    "Just a business decision" my ass.

  • bloviatus the fat||

    The players have themselves said it is exclusively about police brutality against PEOPLE OF COLOR.

    Again, you are extremely stupid, so you don't understand why that is horribly racist, and in fact, support that racism.

  • Tony||

    So get some white people together and form a protest on your behalf. Jesus fuck, lazy bastard.

  • MJBinAL||

    Isn't you mama calling you for dinner Tony?

    Be sure to wash up before going upstairs.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|5.24.18 @ 4:55PM|#
    "I'm about nose deep in disingenuous bullshit about now.
    Are you saying you're on the side of police brutality? Is that the culture war battle you won?
    Congratulations!"

    When you have your ass handed to you, make some irrelevant claim!
    That stuff which is up to your nose is your own bullshit, scumbag.

  • MJBinAL||

    Interesting, I always thought you had your nose up your ass, Tony. I guess that probably would make you nose deep in disingenuous bullshit now that I think of it. Carry On.

  • Elston G||

    The baking cakes for the gays is perfect. Points out his hypocrisy like no other.

  • MJBinAL||

    Tony does not need a paycheck. His mama gives him an allowance every week.

  • Iheartskeet||

    More bullshit moral equivalence by ReasonMag.

    One the one hand, we have a business where the owners have elected to have their employees not be dicks to their customers. This whole kneeling bullshit is simply the equivalent of not having your counter clerk greet customers with "Fuck you, may I take you order ?". THAT is moral equivalence. Any of these players can (and do) protest all they want outside of work.

    On the other hand, we have campus crazies LITERALLY ASSAULTING speakers they don't like, rioting, threatening violence, and physically interrupting/shutting down speakers they don't like. Literally, in all senses of the word, shutting down free speech.

    There is no moral equivalence...indeed any equivalence.

    As far as conservatives being pissed at Google/Facebook/Youtube/Twitter, well they can express their displeasure, just like folks may dislike the NFL policy. As long as it stops there and isn't forcing anything, I don't see the issue with people bitching.

    Mark my words, though, that the campus crazies will graduate to forcing all kinds of things, including hate speech. Then this fake moral equivalence will come into stark relief.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    One the one hand, we have a business where the owners have elected to have their employees not be dicks to their customers. This whole kneeling bullshit is simply the equivalent of not having your counter clerk greet customers with "Fuck you, may I take you order ?".

    No, actually, that's what playing the anthem is.

  • Iheartskeet||

    NFL fans apparently feel different.

  • Elston G||

    Ignorant false equivalence alert!

  • Billy Bones||

    Personally, I have stopped watching NFL games, stopped buying tickets to games or buying merchandise...long before Kaepernick took a knee. Goodell has ruined the sport for me. Long before Kapernick took a knee, I refused to watch the Anthem (or God Bless America, for that matter) for ANY sporting event except the Olympics. I recognize the tradition for exactly what it is...Nationalistic Propanda, of which I want no part. While this ruling is better than what it could have been, I still object to it. I want to live in a country that makes WANT to stand for the Anthem because of what it does, not because they tell me to. With all that said, I will be attending at least one Atlanta Falcons game this fall, during which my ass will be planted firmly in my seat during the Anthem while holding a sign that reads, "I will stand for the Anthem when EVERY veteran in this country has a job and a roof over their head. I support our Veterans, unlike the NFL which just pretends to".

  • John||

    Good for you. If you don't like the political message that you feel comes with the playing of the anthem, you are under no obligation to buy the NFL's product. And no one should be able to blame you for saying "if the football comes with an anthem, I don't want it". That is your opinion and you have a right to it and there is nothing wrong with expressing it.

    The problem here is that some people, not you, can't seem to grasp the fact that people who like the anthem and want everyone to stand for it, have the same right to say no to a product you do.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    And no one should be able to blame you for saying "if the football comes with an anthem, I don't want it".

    Does that include the president, who thinks people who don't like standing for the anthem shouldn't be in the country?

  • John||

    I don't think that is what he said. If he did, show me a link. Beyond that, who gives a shit? He is wrong about that. So what?

  • Tony||

    Lol you're such a douche.

  • John||

    You are a moron Tony. Really, you are just stupid. But lucky for you, Hail is actually dumber.

  • MJBinAL||

    Oooo, I need to see proof! If he is really dumber than Tony how does he remember to breath?

  • Elston G||

    "John" sure seems to be struggling to actually demonstrate logic and principle.

  • Dillinger||

    only savages aren't Propanda.

  • ThomasD||

    "I will stand for the Anthem when EVERY veteran in this country has a job and a roof over their head."

    Which is just another variation on 'mom and apple pie.' Or put more simply, wrapping yourself in 'veterans' is just a variant of wrapping yourself in the flag.

    Exactly whose responsibility is it to give others a job and a roof over their head?

    Because if you think it is the government then fuck off slaver.

  • ||

    Exactly whose responsibility is it to give others a job and a roof over their head?

    80% of the military is composed of logistical support and/or non-combat roles. It doesn't mean that these people see no violence, but I've met and know plenty of veterans who spent 6-12 mos. on a military base in a friendly country overseas. Kinda hard to say those people are owed much more than the paycheck they earned. Not all veterans are created equal.

  • ThomasD||

    I'd take the consideration further. Even if we are talking about the people at the pointy end of the spear, while we may own them more respect and gratitude, they still get compensated just like every other person who enlists - per the terms of their enlistment.

    When enlistment includes the promise of lifetime employment and lifetime housing then that is what they are due (which would be a terrible idea) until then the only things the government owes them are the things the government agreed to provide.

    Anyone advocating the government give them more is playing a dangerous (and.or dishonest) game using them as pawns.

    OTOH, anyone who wishes to advocate that society owes them more, and endeavors to find non-governmental ways of delivering more (ie. charitable efforts) is doing them a service and should be commended.

  • UnrepentantCurmudgeon||

    Personally I would like to see the players kneel on the sidelines so as to remind us every week of the contempt they have for the country that provides the opportunity for them to make outsized salaries and enjoy all the perks of stardom. If the NFL were to stop playing the National Anthem all it would mean to me is the league rolling in the mudhole of its own hypocrisy, kowtowing to athletes in displaying scorn for our nation all the while getting richer by the minute from all the tax breaks and public subsidies that enabled the owners to become as rich as they are. I got the message, and stopped watching, and I've been a Packers fan since 1963. Instead I turned to Aussie Rules Football, and in April greatly enjoyed the celebrations of ANZAC day at all the stadiums.

  • Rhywun||

    I saw those too. English soccer does the same around Remembrance Day.

    That suggests another way out of the NFL's current dilemma (and by association all the other North American leagues where this issue is likely to spread) - you can have your balls-out orgy of anthem-singing and military & police celebrations as long as you confine it to one day.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    Personally I would like to see the players kneel on the sidelines so as to remind us every week of the contempt they have for the country that provides the opportunity for them to make outsized salaries and enjoy all the perks of stardom.

    You didn't build that!

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Because not playing a song means hatred of America. They're probably commies!

  • ThomasD||

    If someone makes it a point to fart every time they are at your dinner table will you take that as a sign to stop eating dinner?

  • Elston G||

    Authoritarian follower and military industrial complex donor class toady alert!!!!!!!

  • Elston G||

    Athletes kneeling in silent nonviolent protest of racist ignorant racist cops who hate black people, is scorn for the racist cops who hate and kill black people.
    Not the nation.
    How is it you don't know this?

  • Jason Dawes the Elder||

    "But as National Review's David French points out in a terrific New York Times op-ed piece...."

    Far from terrific, it was asinine and completely missed the point. The issue around pressure against speech is that I say something in my own spare time and then get sanctioned or fired for it. And if the NFL players want to act like dumbasses on their own time, great.

    But that's not what's happening, and comparing the players to the anti-speech climate is comparing apples to oranges.

  • John||

    French is dumb as a post. I am totally at a loss why anyone listens to that idiot.

  • Elston G||

    Like many so-called Libertarians here who post
    You use an awful lot of ad hominem and no substance.

  • MJBinAL||

    That is a terrible thing to say about a post.

    How about...
    "French is a dumb as Tony."

    See, that was easy.

  • Longtobefree||

    National Review
    New York Times
    not terrific

  • Sevo||

    "...after successfully pressuring the National Football League to protect the delicate feelings of its snowflake audience."

    Cite missing.

  • Jerryskids||

    Take a look at the comments above yours - delicate little snowflakes whining that Robby called them delicate little snowflakes. Well, okay, mostly just one particular delicate little snowflake. To be sure, the NFL has every right, blah blah blah, but if your response to this flag flap is anything other than "Shut the fuck up and let's play some football because nobody fucking cares", you're probably a delicate little snowflake. What's with the trying to inject politics into every goddamn single little thing for tribal purposes? Isn't that the hallmark of the Left, are we all Leftists now? I'm trying to drink a beer and watch a football game, it's annoying to see shitheads trying to make some bigger deal out of it than it is, but it's even more annoying to see other shitheads trying to make a bigger deal out of the first shitheads than the shitheads deserve. Take that shit somewhere else, I'm trying to watch the game.

  • John||

    How is turning off the TV making a bigger deal out of it? Are the people offended by Kapernick obligated to watch anyway?

    I think you and Robby both are confusing someone affirmatively confronting someone or trying to shut them up because they disagree with them and just turning away. The two things are not the same thing. If someone is bothered by Kaepernick's actions, it is perfectly appropriate and indeed part and parcel to their freedom of speech and association for them to just walk away and not listen or by the product that the message comes with.

    So how were the people who stopped watching the NFL wrong? You may disagree with their position, but I don't see how you can say they were wrong or should be condemned for refusing to buy a product that came with a political message they didn't like. And if they were not wrong, how is the NFL wrong for changing to try and win back their business?

  • Tony||

    It's what 2 minutes of a 4-hour event? If you're so offended during those 2 minutes, you are being a snowflake, you're boasting about being a snowflake to people on the internet (i.e., virtue signalling), and you're being an all around cunt. Just turn the TV on when the game starts. Jesus fucking Christ the disingenuous bullshit that spews out of you on a constant basis. How do you even make it out of bed?

  • John||

    It's what 2 minutes of a 4-hour event? If you're so offended during those 2 minutes, you are being a snowflake,

    Sure Tony, if the league let someone wear a shirt that said "hang all queers", you would totally keep giving the NFL your business. Right? They are offended by it. Get over it. People are under no obligation to pay money for shit they don't like. I would never expect you to give money to a league that let its players wear "queers must die shirts" or say you were wrong for not doing so. So why can't you give other people the same courtesy.

  • Tony||

    I don't give them my business in the first place because sports are for idiots.

    And if you're offended by a silent protest of police brutality, then you are a fucking cunt and I'm gonna say so.

  • John||

    Yes Tony, you don't agree with them. But that doesn't make them wrong for acting on their opinions. It is two different issues.

  • MJBinAL||

    Tony does not give the NFL any business because, living in his mama's basement, the allowance she gives him isn't enough to cover those box seats he believes he is entitled to.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|5.24.18 @ 4:42PM|#
    "It's what 2 minutes of a 4-hour event?"

    So it's shit, but we shouldn't gripe since YOU think it's not much shit?
    Are you really that stupid?

  • Tony||

    You shouldn't be griping because you should be agreeing with the protesters.

    And not with the pro-police brutality assholes who wrap themselves in the flag.

    You're taking sides and I'm saying you're a cunt for taking the wrong one. It's not that difficult.

  • bloviatus the fat||

    Sevo, come on, you KNOW he's that stupid.

  • Sevo||

    And he just proved it again! How convenient.

  • bloviatus the fat||

    Tony "eat this shit"

    NFL fans "no thank you"

    Tony "YOU STUPID INBRED RACIST FUCKS WON'T EAT A LITTLE SHIT!!! DIE!!!"

    Reasonable people "Jesucristo Tony is a lunatic"

  • Tony||

    I just want cops to stop extrajudicial killing and brutalizing.

    The NFL just silenced a motivator of that conversation.

    And you are not only OK with that, you celebrate it.

    Because you're all Team Red fucktards. But we've been over this many times, and it's no surprise to anyone.

  • bloviatus the fat||

    Tony - "EAT THAT SHIT!!!"

  • Elston G||

    More substance-free ad hom from the libertarian inteligencia here.
    Sad.
    Why post if you're not going to speak to something other than call people names?

  • Sevo||

    I see you have no cite for the claim either.
    I'm firmly on the side of 'no anthem at all', but I'm also firmly on the side of letting businesses do what they see as their best interest.

  • Elston G||

    If you think the NFL is just the average business and isn't allowed a playground of the privileged not subject to antitrust, you're not very fucking smart. Most so-called Libertarians here couldn't speak to market economics if their life depended on it anyway so just doesn't surprise me.

  • Longtobefree||

    Predictable conflating a business defining the conduct to be displayed towards paying customers with a constitutional crisis.
    Just suppose for the hell of it that the players who wanted to inject personal politics into the business space chose to comment on the second amendment and bring (bear) arms (AR-15s) onto the field prior to each game, and leave them leaning against the bench during play. What then Robby?
    From what I have found in wandering the web with lantern held high, the NFL made a business decision when it declared "support" for the kneeling players at the beginning. It made a different business decision when it observed the consequences of the first decision, and no longer supports the players costing them profit. I am very sure Trump was not part of the discussion.
    Also necessary in the analysis is the collective bargaining unit and its part in both decisions.
    In sum; follow the money.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Like the terrorists, the anthem protesters hate us for our freedom. I say love it or get shown the door.

  • Elston G||

    That's because you're authoritarian in nature and a follower not an independent individual.
    Shove your jingoistic crap up your ass.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Let's hope these new rules will finally beat some patriotic spirit into those ungrateful athletes!

  • John||

    Are you going to watch the NFL or not? If you are not, then what do you care? If you are, then it must not bother you very much.

  • Hail Rataxes||

    I'm pretty sure anyone could have said this to the flag-humpers who complained about the kneeling.

  • John||

    You could. And those people stopped watching. Now the NFL wants their money. They matter and you don't. No one gives a shit that you don't like the anthem. Go find someone who does and buy their product. You really can't seem to grasp how little you matter and how people do things that you don't like.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    And many of them are not coming back.

    If the NFL isn't made to suffer, this was just a free trial balloon which they can try again later to see if it works.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    Oh look, chemjeff taking the leftist position again. But he's not a leftist, remember.

  • Elston G||

    This is what passes for libertarian principles and individual self-determination? Really?

  • TommyInIdaho||

    'The new policy is undoubtedly crafted to appease not just some viewers but Trump, who has repeatedly attacked the NFL for failing to punish the defiant players. "I don't think people should be staying in locker rooms, but still, I think it's good," Trump said on Fox and Friends this morning. "You have to stand proudly for the national anthem, or you shouldn't be playing, you shouldn't be there, maybe you shouldn't be in the country." Vice President Mike Pence tweeted the news, adding a single remark: "#WINNING."

    Coincidence is not causation...

  • lap83||

    It's weird but journalists don't seem to understand what the first amendment really entails, especially when it comes to the workplace. Maybe because they get paid for their opinions and assume that is how it should be for everyone? But normal people don't have that perk at their jobs. A restaurant hostess is probably not going to last long if she says "Fuck Israel, table for 4?" whenever customers show up. Her employer doesn't owe her that platform. If you do have that platform with your work, your job isn't necessarily more noble than one that doesn't have that feature

  • John||

    You mean the guy who works in the Koshur Deli can't explain the evils of Isreal to the customers? You just hate freedom Lap.

  • lap83||

    Is that what Sheldon Richman is doing now? I'm glad he's keeping busy

  • lafe.long||

    Dammit reason, where's muh like button?

    lol.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "It's weird but journalists don't seem to understand what the first amendment really entails . . .

    Congress shall make no law . . .

    Congress shall make no law . . .

    Congress shall make no law . . .

    It's really not hard to understand.

    Are non-disclosure agreements between private parties an offense against free speech, too?

    The idea that anybody thinks Robby speaks for libertarians on free speech is nauseating. It's worse than Weigel covering us rat-fuckers in its own way. We always knew that Weigel didn't understand or like us. Robby's work about free speech makes it seem to some people as if he is pro-free speech--as if writing about gardening would mean he must be a pumpkin.

    I still defy anybody to link to a Title IX article of his and show me how you can tell whether he's against Title IX or just wants it implemented evenly.

  • JTP||

    The idea of walking into a restaurant and the hostess greets me with "fuck isreal, table for 4?" made me laugh so hard. I would be a regular there, as long as they switch it up occasionally.

  • Elston G||

    Why are you conflating journalism with opinion?
    They are not one in the same, no matter what Hannity and ignorant doltard in Oval Office have told you.
    They are not one in the same.
    How is it you don't know this?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Anybody who thinks it's anti-free speech for employers to discipline their employees for offending customers is a stupid shithead.

  • Rich||

    I predict "the knee" will simply be replaced by "the raised fist" or "the scowl" or "the one eye open, the other closed" or ....

  • lap83||

    I always knew Popeye was woke

  • Rich||

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    I know, right? There are so many ways for this to backfire.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    I hope the players find some new way to protest so that we can have 30+ articles on the subject to look forward to this fall!

    Plus moar John for all of us. Maybe that's what those John 316 signs were all about. Foreshadowing the number of posts on every NFL-anthem article.

  • John||

    And if those protests consist of things you loathe, you will be obligated to watch right? If you refuse to buy a product when the clerk at the store says "fuck you Lev, you racist bastard" to your face, you are just being a snowflake.

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    No I don't choose to buy a product based on how it hurts my feelings or strokes my ego. If I want something I buy it. If I want to watch something I watch it.

  • bloviatus the fat||

    so you're, by your own definition, a snowflake

  • John||

    So you give your money to people who hate you? Your choice but I hardly see how y you can condemn those who disagree

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    But as a member of the anti-tribe tribe you totally support reason which tells you that "yours is the superior" which is totally not stroking your ego. It's good to be bound to such a close knit group of individuals.

  • bloviatus the fat||

    You...didn't read about this yet, clearly. Go check out how those are banned too.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    The rule applies to "disrespecting the anthem" with kneeling only an example.

  • Sevo||

    BTW, Kaepernick sucked long before he was doing anything like protesting.

  • Rich||

    How can you call ramming that Afro into a helmet "sucking"?

  • ||

    How can you call ramming that Afro into a helmet "sucking"?

    It's not putting on the helmet that sucks.

  • MJBinAL||

    Just remember that nature requires a balance, for every suck there has to be a blow.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    Very much so. As I recall he was considered unlikely to make the roster that preseason, until he started the kneeling business and became politically untouchable (esp in SF). What he was thinking when he opted out of his contract I will never fathom.

  • ThomasD||

    Yep. That this whole Brouhaha started with a guy who may have had ulterior motives, and was possibly just trying to use polticalk protest as an angle to keep from getting cut, probably was a poor foundation.

    Things might have turned out differently even.

  • Tornavoo||

    The NFL lost a lot of business last season.
    Kneeling is first amendment, yes.
    The supreme court also ruled that what you do with your money is also first amendment.
    It's more about keeping the doors open of the NFL.
    It's no coincidence that Vince MacMahon said he was resurrecting the XFL with the rule that you must stand.
    He wanted that revenue the NFL was losing.

    I do understand why they were kneeling, because of the police brutality issue.
    To others they were raising awareness for their issue by disrespecting the armed forces. Whether or not you agree with this is irrelevant. They have the opinions and they have the right to choose what to do with their money.

  • John||

    To others they were raising awareness for their issue by disrespecting the armed forces. Whether or not you agree with this is irrelevant. They have the opinions and they have the right to choose what to do with their money.

    Apparently, if you are unwilling to buy a product that comes with a political message you don't like, you are some kind of snowflake who hates free speech.

    This is the reason position on this issue.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    Originally Kaepernick said he did not stand (recall he originally was sitting, not kneeling) because he didn't think America deserved respect, because it was a racist country.

    Afterwards the leftists and the media (redundant I know) did a polishing job on his statements to make it about police abuse. But when they show solidarity with Kaepernick, they are agreeing with his insult to America. Which they should not be fined or jailed by the government for (which is as far as the first amendment goes).

  • Sevo||

    "Kneeling is first amendment, yes."
    No, it isn't, and this is getting tiresome:
    The Constitution does not grant rights. DOES NOT GRANT RIGHTS! Repeat until you understand.
    A1 simply limits the government's powers over the citizens; 'free speech' means the government is not allowed to limit your speech except under extremely rare conditions.
    Your activities when you are in the work place have nothing to do with A1. Period.

  • M.L.||

    None of this B.S. bears more than a tenuous connection at best to free speech. Seeing this as a free speech issue either way is a simpleton's analysis -- and that includes Reason's tiresome "above it all", against both sides shtick.

    It's mystifying to imagine the mind of a person who is upset that some dolt multimillionaire athlete doesn't get to hijack their employer's TV product with their braindead political antics. I also don't get being upset by someone kneeling, BUT, if you are an avid football watcher, I can at least understand some mild annoyance with the producers shoveling all this garbage at you that 98% of the viewers don't want to see. It's like, why?

    The only party that's really exercising their free speech here is the NFL. They're producing an entertainment product they hope people will buy/watch, and they have the right to decide if they are going to show people protesting the American flag, saluting it, or none of the above. They were getting all giddy about burgeoning these protests and various SJW issues into a big hot topic, maybe they thought it was good for ratings or maybe they're just ideologues, either way their customers are the ones who repudiated them over their product, Trump was just the catalyst.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Well, yes, but Trump said bad words.

  • Cloudbuster||

    Football players are paid performers in an entertainment extravaganza. It's entirely appropriate to expect them to perform as directed.

    I'm in sales. I don't go into a sales call and take a knee in support of my political beliefs. I check my personal baggage at the door. I am there to represent my company. I engage with businesses and universities whose behavior I find personally reprehensible -- especially the anti-free-speech behavior of some of the universities. I suck it up, because my employer is not paying me to engage in political agitation, it's paying me to make a sale.

  • Cloudbuster||

    Football players are paid performers in an entertainment extravaganza. It's entirely appropriate to expect them to perform as directed.

    I'm in sales. I don't go into a sales call and take a knee in support of my political beliefs. I check my personal baggage at the door. I am there to represent my company. I engage with businesses and universities whose behavior I find personally reprehensible -- especially the anti-free-speech behavior of some of the universities. I suck it up, because my employer is not paying me to engage in political agitation, it's paying me to make a sale.

  • livelikearefugee||

    The NFL made a rational decision to staunch their declining TV revenues. Their duty to provide their investors with a profit outweighs whatever theoretical obligation to players' free speech some outside groups would try to impose on them.

  • James Pollock||

    Except that the league's TV revenues are covered by contract, and aren't declining. There might be a detectable change in gate revenue, but the TV revenues are contracted well in advance.

  • MJBinAL||

    It is true that the current advertising revenues are based on past ratings. It is also true that FUTURE advertising revenues are going to be based on CURRENT ratings. The NFL needed to fix this before they start negotiations for the next contract period.

  • Tony||

    What is the appropriate time and place to protest police brutality?

    Somebody name something equally as or more high profile as an NFL game or GTFO.

  • Just Say'n||

    Tony what you don't seem to get is that people take issue with the blatant hypocrisy here by the writers at Reason. They demurred when Damore was fired from Google for providing feedback to his company when they requested employee feedback. They "to be sure" when riots and speech limits are imposed on conservative at publicly funded campuses. And half of their writers are exceptionally shitty defenders of free speech on the legal basis or in the spirit of free speech. Robby is probably the best defender out of all of them, which is a particularly shitty realization.

    Commentators, like John, are upset by the unbelievably galling double standard employed here. A private company can set rules on its employees and that's not a violation of the legal aspect of free speech. There have been countless articles by Reason insisting upon this point when it concerned the speech of Ben Shapiro, James Damore, etc. But, now suddenly it's different for reasons. It's just so obviously hypocritical of them.

    I applaud the fact that you've suddenly become a supporter of the spirit of free speech, but it's a little too convenient. Hopefully you have realized the errors of your ways, but I highly doubt it. It's your friends on the Left that started this game and continue to employ it, so you just have to eat some crow and deal with the fact that you lost this round.

  • Tony||

    I've always been consistent on free speech, even to the extent that I want more of it even in the private sector.

    And I think since this move was motivated by the head of the government of the United States, it's perfectly libertarian to be freaked out about it. If it was Obama pressuring a company to do something the opinions here would be uniform and opposite of what they are on this.

    "It's a business decision." I get it. We all get it. It's been said about ten million times in this thread. So is there nothing else to discuss on this subject?

  • Sevo||

    Tony|5.24.18 @ 5:43PM|#
    "I've always been consistent on free speech, even to the extent that I want more of it even in the private sector."

    Which is not free speech, but trying to explain that to a fucking ignoramus like you is not worth my time.

  • Tony||

    Hey dude I get it. It's been explained over and over. You don't actually care about freedom, you just care about freedom from the federal government (for yourself). I'm for freedom more broadly. Sue me.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|5.24.18 @ 6:03PM|#
    "Hey dude I get it. It's been explained over and over. You don't actually care about freedom, you just care about freedom from the federal government (for yourself). I'm for freedom more broadly. Sue me."

    No, you don't get it; "freedom" is not telling other people what they can do.

  • Tony||

    ...

    Like the president of the United States telling private-sector laborers to stand up and salute or get out?

  • Sevo||

    Tony|5.24.18 @ 10:09PM|#
    ...
    "Like the president of the United States telling private-sector laborers to stand up and salute or get out?"

    Yeah, you're pretty much like that.
    He's a politician, playing to his base. You're a fucking ignoramus wishing you had the power to do so.

  • Sevo||

    Oh, and neither one of you is worth shit on the issue. In case you missed it, I'm on the 'no anthem, no jingoism' side.

  • Just Say'n||

    That's the thing, Tony, I've never seen you be consistent on this issue. Maybe, I missed it. I do recall you celebrating Damore being fired at Google

  • Tony||

    I don't recall, but I doubt it, but if I did, I was wrong.

    Not that I disagree with the sentiment being pounded into everyone's ears that "businesses have a right to fire people for saying stuff they don't like."

    300 comments and we arrive at a trivial truth. How enlightening this has been.

  • bloviatus the fat||

    there's that convenient retrograde amnesia

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Spot on, but I don't think I'd give Vox boy any credit at all when it comes to a commitment to free speech.

  • bloviatus the fat||

    What is the appropriate time and place to protest police brutality?

    Not at work.

  • Tony||

    The problem with libertarian corporate cocksuckers is how fucking square you are. Dudebro with an MBA from Bumfuck U is not actually the most successful model of a human being, nor should he be our master and king. Life is for living.

  • bloviatus the fat||

    I can see you are butthurt about such a concise answer, largely because your argument falls apart as a result.

    Cry about it more.

  • Tony||

    What I mean by you're fucking square is that I'm a big government loving progressive and I'm more fucking rebellious than you pencil-dicked geeks. You guys like get off on sucking up to the man as long as he's got a fake tan and a title and drives a lexus. You aspire to douchiness. It is your dream of dreams.

    I prefer freedom. Not just freedom from the federal government. It doesn't actually bother me all that much. (Different story if I were an illegal immigrant--but most of you cunts think they should be under the jackboot.)

  • Sevo||

    Tony|5.24.18 @ 6:01PM|#
    "What I mean by you're fucking square is that I'm a big government loving progressive and I'm more fucking rebellious than you pencil-dicked geeks."

    What you qualify as rebellious' is nothing other than a hope to tell everyone else what they are allowed to do.
    You're exactly as 'rebellious' as one of the Castro brothers. And too stupid to realize it besides.

  • bloviatus the fat||

    I didn't realize being rebellious meant Sucking Democrat Dick like the has the antidote in it

  • bloviatus the fat||

    Trump - doesn't care what you think

    NFL - doesn't care what you think

    NFL fans- don't care what you think

    NFL players - don't care what you think

    NFL sponsors - don't care what you think

    Reason commentariat - doesn't care what you think

    I guess this "life" you have that is "for living" includes screaming into the abyss as "living."

    Cry about it more.

    I asked and you delivered. Like your job with pizza.

  • MJBinAL||

    Don't sell yourself short Tony, you suck more than anyone else here.

  • Just Say'n||

    I agree, Tony, that too many libertarians replace support for free markets with support for business. I'm not pro-business, I'm pro-markets. There is a difference

  • Sevo||

    "There is a difference"
    Yes? This should be good.

  • Sevo||

    Tony|5.24.18 @ 5:54PM|#
    "...Life is for living."

    Oh, how....................
    pathetic.

  • Elston G||

    Your grievance signaling is also pathetic

  • The Metonymy||

    Why charge admission to a protest?

  • MJBinAL||

    In your bedroom Tony, down in your mama's basement. You can yell and scream and lie on the floor all you want ... at least until she tells you to shut up because she can't hear the TV. And she CAN make you shut up, because it is her house, her basement and her TV.

  • creech||

    Wonder what the SJW would say if, at next season's opener, a group of players paraded around with "Shut the F Up, Hillary" and "Die Already, John McCain" signs?

  • Macy's Window||

    So, Robby's point is that criticism of political speech is wrong and a violation of free speech?

    Have you thought about that argument before you started typing?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Some writers cover the auto industry without being an automobile.

    Robby covers free speech like that.

    He writes about free speech, which is fundamentally different from being a free speech advocate.

  • ThomasD||

    If Robby was smart that'd probably sting more.

  • smalleyd||

    There's a big different between what Google, Mozilla, and Yale (or any campus) have done and what the NFL is now mandating. The NFL is stipulating behavior on the job. The former entities punished private speech by individuals on their own time. I have not seen anything, anywhere that says that the NFL plans to fine BLM activism on a players on time.

  • Shoreline1||

    Now that we have that settled, let's go blow the shit out of some third world country to really show our patriotism!

  • Shoreline1||

    And why do they play the anthem at these events, anyway? There was a time when perhaps it meant something, but nowadays they use the same rationale to suggest that blowing the shit out of Afghanistan somehow protects Iowa. It's an illness, it's not good for the human race.

  • TxJack 112||

    Employers have the right to control the conduct of their employees when at work. The NFL is an employer and the players employees just like me and every other person who works for a living. The fact they are millionaires paid to play a game is irrelevant. The conduct of the players impacted the profitability of their employers which is the real issue. If I, as an employee, did something that cost my employer money, I would either be disciplined or fired. Stop pretending NFL players have some special set of rights just because they are high profile people making a lot of money

  • ranrod||

    Owners Propose Lame Solution to Kaepernick Syndrome..
    Black Lives Matter types among NFL players refusing to stand for the national anthem because the criminally prone zillionaires think America oppresses them for being persons of politically preferred pigmentation. Despite the full-throated support of the moonbat propagandists at ESPN, this despicable behavior has driven away fans. No worries; the owners propose a solution:
    "It would be up to the home team on whether both teams come out of the locker room for the anthem, and, should teams come out, 15-yard penalties could be assessed for kneeling."
    Players who drop their pants and moon Old Glory during the anthem might be in for a really serious punishment, like no seconds on dessert.

    Such harsh measures are balanced by the NFL's $89 million social justice partnership and a social justice bootcamp. If you so much as buy a Dallas Cowboys t-shirt, you are financing hardcore left-wing activism.
    Reader KirklesWorth has a better suggestion regarding how to deal with Kaepernick syndrome:
    "I think they should hold up the game until they stand. If they kneel during the anthem, stop it and restart it when they stand. If they continue to refuse to stand, their team forfeits."
    Or if the NFL really wants to prove itself worthy of its fans, it could banish the kneelers from the league. In the meantime, a continued boycott is well advised.

    https://moonbattery.com/ owners-propose-lame-solution -to-kaepernick-syndrome/

  • John Thielking||

    I'm really disappointed that the NFL has decided to crack down like this. Colin Kapernick's taking a knee was one of the main reasons why I decided to become a football fan and ended up creating the web site https://nationalturnoverleague.com to help the homeless via using a football theme.

  • bloviatus the fat||

    you're not a football fan

  • Ken Shultz||

    LOL

    You're a joke.

  • ThomasD||

    See if you can get ESPN to bite.

  • mjerryfuerst||

    The policy seems irrelevant because it states: "Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room or in a similar location off the field until after the Anthem has been performed."
    I can see 20-30% of the players/staff staying in the locker room.
    The commentators will certainly take note of who stays in the locker room.
    Those staying in the locker room will get to run out after the national anthem.
    The same messages will thus have been conveyed

  • Sevo||

    "I can see 20-30% of the players/staff staying in the locker room."

    I can see laughing at that prediction,

  • ThomasD||

    More power to them if they do.

    And I also suspect that many of those previously offended fans will be ok with the compromise. But if players do not come out I do not think the announcers will take much note of it, and if they try to start naming names the League will pointedly (if privately) tell them to Knock It The Fuck Off. The whole point of this exercise being to end the controversy.

    Not that any of the lefties here would be offended by that offense to broadcaster 'free speech.'

  • H-daddy||

    Players protesting during the national anthem might be the only thing interesting aspect of NFL football these days.

  • ThomasD||

    Sadly that is true. The game has become it's own worst enemy. It's a percentages issue. Players have become so large and powerful that plays must be designed to be very brief - otherwise the risk of injuries skyrockets. So the NFL has largely devolved into 1.5 second intervals of action intercalated between several minute segments of boredom.

    It is practically unwatchable.

  • EZepp||

    Sorry, folks. Doing something in express disagreement with you boss gets you fired. Especially when it pisses off your customers. No ".....but free speech" about it.

    Obvious exceptions are if you have tenure, or belong to the SEIU.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Another hot take brought to you by the new Vox editor.

  • Ken Shultz||

    He's Reason's own Pajama Boy.

  • Edmund Dantes||

    Free speech doesn't mean speech with no consequences.

  • The Metonymy||

    When is EA Sports going to add a kneeling option to its Madden NFK video games?

  • The Metonymy||

    *NFL

  • SusanM||

    It's a great idea for a loot box prize.

  • geo||

    The NFL is just trying to stay in business. The Department of Defense paid millions of dollars for marketing in sports venues and the NFL is responding to its true customers, the advertisers and networks that also sell advertising.They lost multiple sponsors over this brew-ha-ha. The advertisers, be they the DOD, or a pizza chain, want the customers that watch the NFL. Since viewership was significantly declining, roughly by 10%, the value of advertising with the NFL dropped accordingly. Networks are also in a bind these days and no doubt pressured the NFL to solve the issue. ESPN, which is now losing money, has probably realized that their politics and the politicization of the NFL is hurting their bottom line. Get over it. It is not about free speech. It IS about money.

  • Sevo||

    "...It is not about free speech. It IS about money."

    Properly so.
    There is no government action involved here either way, so 'freedom of speech' is not applicable; that applies to restrictions on government activity only.
    This is contract law, between employers and employees regarding their actions when they are in the workplace. As such, it is none of the business of any of us (unless one of you is an NFL player or owner).

  • Colossal Douchebag||

    Amen. As with the flap on college campuses over free speech, the first question should always be, Who are the customers and what do they want?

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    The government was partly involved in the NFL case, since Trump's displeasure was a motivating factor.

    Baloney. The NFL's immediate response to Trump's anti-kneeling statements was to come out in support of the kneeling. Remember Goodell tweeting that he was proud of all the players kneeling, and attacking Trump for being "divisive"? Remember Jerry Jones and Arthur Blank kneeling with their players in a show of solidarity? You can't plausibly claim that Trump's statements intimidated them into compliance.

    They only started shitting their pants was the fans turning off the TV, not buying tickets, and not buying merchandise. That phenomenon was truly intimidating to them. And frankly, many of those fans are NEVER coming back, because taking a break made them realize how much time and money they had been wasting. Even if they do they will spend less.

    By your standard, if Obama said he didn't like Fox News (which he did several times), did that constitute a violation of the freedom of the press?

  • XM||

    It's not "anti free speech" for a funeral to mandate guests to come dressed in black / conservative attire, or anyone expecting people to remain silent during moments of silence. Holding a yoga session at a cemetery falls under 1A protection, but no decent human being would ever do it.

    Mandating people to stand during the national anthem is not much different than a corporate dress code. It's a company policy meant to maintain a certain decorum and civility. Conservatives get upset by kneeling for the same reason liberals would get upset if a white player refused to shake Obama's hand in the locker room - they're offended by an intentional slight. It might make a statement, but that doesn't mean people won't be upset by it.

    None of the kneeling players were ever in danger of losing their jobs. The Yankees don't allow their players to wear facial hair. Is that really the same thing as people losing their jobs and reputation over expressing a reasonable opinion?

  • vek||

    I've said similar things myself. It is just "one of those things" where you're expected to be civil. If you're not it's clearly intended as a slap in the face... Lots of people don't like being slapped in the face!

  • MJBinAL||

    It is particularly foolish to slap your customers in the face. No one is required to give the NFL money.

  • ||

    Free speech is fundamentally misunderstood by all who criticize the NFL rule based on "free speech".

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    It must be a terrible burden being so perfect.

  • Eidde||

    As with the prior post on this subject, the main problem is that Big Football suckles on the public teat. That problem remains unsolved (from the taxpapers' point of view).

    Obviously, that's not enough for them to make the money they want, they also have to get people to *voluntarily* watch their programs and *voluntarily* support their sponsors.

    So they have to fashion an entertainment spectacle which appeals to a broad audience - an audience which thinks that one way to respect this country is to respect the national anthem. And that disrespect of the national anthem isn't something they want to see happening on an entertainment program they're watching.

    So there's a part of the audience which will seek other things to do besides watch football, if Big Football does things which they see as disrespectful to the country.

    You can say "OMG snowflakes" all you want, but let me know when these non-football-watchers start illegally disrupting games, or claiming that disrespect for the anthem endangers their physical safety. So far, they're just turning the TV off, or switching the channel.

  • SIV||

    I'm not a fan of the NFL but damn, they really know how to trigger the snowflakes. I might start watching the Falcons again.

  • Migrant Log Chipper||

    Given all the shit going down re intelligence abuses you'd think Reason could find something to write about than rehashing this circle jerk AGAIN.

  • Sevo||

    Yeah, the NYT has changed from 'It didn't happen!' to 'It did, but it only matters since we think Trump is using it to discredit the investigation which has found nothing!'.

  • ThomasD||

    Whistling past the graveyard...

  • Sevo||

    Anecdote:
    Never watched hoops until the Warriors got good; then it was enjoyable to go to a tavern and cheer them on. I assumed the team was largely 'Bay Area lefty', but if they didn't make a point of it, I didn't care. Then they did; 'Trump is a poopyhead!' and 'Kerr is an authority on guns, 'cause his Dad was shot!' (I'm an authority on cancer; my Mom died of it). It is no longer an enjoyable spectacle; it's a reminder that those folks don't like me one bit. I think they played tonight, but neither know nor care; fuck their SJW bullshit.
    The 9ers were simply un-watchable for a long period of time, so passing on the SJW moves and announcements was easy; I've got other things to occupy my Sundays. But toward the end of last season, they were looking pretty nifty, so the strategy was: Tune in a bit into Q-1. Who ever the early sponsors were should have gotten a discount.

  • vek||

    The funny thing about one side of an argument endlessly attacking you, berating you, denying you the ability to even speak your mind in any real public forum, is EVENTUALLY you're going to get sick and tired of it. And eventually you're going to swing back. The fact is that the tactics the left employees work AMAZINGLY WELL. That's how they've managed to destroy and subvert so much of what made western civilization so amazing.

    At this late date I literally do not care AT ALL about trying to maintain the moral high ground.

    You could do that in the 70s or something when the conservative/libertarian streak in America was still the predominant one. Nowadays this is a fight for our literal survival. So to that end, I say do whatever it takes to crush the progressives into the dirt and destroy every last shred of their rotten ideology. Even if that means using some of their own low tactics upon them, like whining to get your way. All I know is that WHEN (probably not if) the right wing type folks start taking to the streets in real numbers as the left has done, it won't be a disorganized rabble like with the left. Shit is gonna get REAL when that day comes.

  • BrianB||

    I've never understood why it seems so vitally important to play the national anthem at sporting events anyway. What would happen if we didn't?

  • ThomasD||

    Who is this 'we' you speak of? You own a franchise and keeping it secret?

    'We' don't play the Anthem before games, the NFL does.

    You could ask them why they do it, or even ask them to stop. But I think you already know the answer to those honest questions.

  • Cyto||

    This is a stupid argument. The NFL is not a speech platform. It is entertainment. Sports entertainment. It doesn't exist to give its players a platform for their political views any more than The Big Bang Theory exists to give its employees a platform for their political views.

    If Jim Parsons is really opposed to abortion but the show executives don't want that as a part of their show, he doesn't get to just wear an anti-abortion shirt in the show. The NFL players are exactly like an actor on a TV show.

    At the same time, Google, Twitter, Facebook, et. al. exist only as a means of communication between private citizens. They are like the phone company. They exist to facilitate speech... and often political speech. Their decision to begin censoring political viewpoints that they disagree with and promoting political viewpoints that they agree with within their platforms is qualitatively different. This is like the 1960's phone company deciding to drop all calls from civil rights groups like the NAACP. It may be within their purview, but it violates both the precepts under which they were created and their status as a common carrier.

  • Cyto||

    Everything in your narrative about "but, but conservatives get upset when.... " is stupid because of this dichotomy. Facebook, Twitter and Google are the predominant platforms for political speech, particularly private political speech. Freezing out one viewpoint from that forum us a big deal. Promoting one viewpoint (as a cabal of platform-owners) is a big deal.

    Saying "don't bring political protests to the national anthem" to your employees who are at work in an entertainment job is not nearly the same big deal. It falls under the heading of "it would be better if", not "this is a major break in our ability to freely communicate political ideas".

    If you fail to see the distinction, your ideology has blinded you and is leading you to some serious motivated reasoning.

  • Cyto||

    That being said, I have to agree with the sentiments expressed above that Robby has been the most consistent free speech voice lately. To be sure, he usually qualifies it with an 'I'm holding my nose here' dog whistle (see what I did there?), but still.

    I wonder what the reaction would have been from the libertarian media of the 1970's if ABC, CBS and NBC had publicly opined that they were going to enter into an agreement to freeze out "hateful viewpoints" from black activists like Jesse Jackson, Elenor Holmes Norton, et. al and gay rights activists? Would it have been "hey, these are private companies?" Nah.. I doubt it.

  • ThomasD||

    I don't necessarily have a problem with Facebook and their ilk, being private enterprise, policing speech on their sites. But once they do they lose any 'neutral platform' protections and become liable for the speech that does appear on their sites.

    They can't have it both ways.

  • Cyto||

    Oh, and that last line about "Trump's displeasure" being at the root of this issue is just silly.

    Trump was surfing the wave, not causing it. Joe six-pack was the wave.

  • Abu Nudnik||

    Trump is right. The rule states:

    "The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem.

    During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses."
    The League should have taken a draft pick away the first time it happened and the whole argument would have been about the severity of the penalty, which could have been eased later on. Instead, they ignored the rules. Now they're trying to save face. They're STILL pretending there wasn't ALREADY a rule in place and so are most people arguing about it. Or they've been left in the dark about it intentionally. Rotherham comes to mind. Church sex abuse too. All these problems have a common thread: cover my eyes, ears, and moth and hope it all goes away.

  • mortiscrum||

    This moronic ban is almost certainly illegal.

    And seriously....anyone who's in favor of this? Second door on the left, you can hand it your First Amendment Supporter card right now.

  • ThomasD||

    OBL is that you?

  • ThomasD||

    In the event it really is not OBL then,

    Even if the rule change is a violation of the CBA that is still not 'illegal,' merely a contract violation. The rest of the article is even less credible.

    There is no fail quite like voxfail.

  • mortiscrum||

    I'll accept that; the legal case is perhaps not iron-clad. It's still pretty good though - it's going to come down to how hard the players really want to pursue it. The league prompting the players to fully strike via the partial strike rule seems like a wedge the players could use to their advantage. It seems fairly unlikely it'll actually come to that though.

    But that's kind of besides the point: this is without doubt 100% against the spirit of free speech. As Soave's article argues, the players are squarely within the bounds of free speech to kneel during the national anthem. I would go so far as to say it is close the the idealized idea of free speech and what it can be used for. The fact that people are whining about it shows how shallow the principle of free speech really is within American culture.

  • ThomasD||

    It's against the spirit of whose free speech? Do only the players have a voice?

    But never mind that bit of puffery, explain exactly how they have been silenced? They can still kneel, they'll just have to put their wallets where their conscience is. And they still have myriad other avenues for making their voices heard. A strike would certainly be one of them.

    Go for it, I say.

    Amazing that the NBA already has this sort of rule and nobody thought to cry over their 'silencing.'

    I don't expect you or Reason to cry now that Publix' has been 'silenced' by David Hogg.

  • swampwiz||

    It is a bit of a "snowflake issue" that folks are affronted by players displaying their contempt. That said, the league does have a "compelling legal interest" in maintaining a certain level of decorum; the allowance of players to simply stay in the locker room is a good balance.

  • ThomasD||

    Pretty obvious to note that on field behavior is exactly what the the NFL pays them for.

    Obvious, at least, to people who actually respect free speech, as opposed to privileged speech.

  • Wearenotperfect||

    When I stand for the national anthem I feel patriotic.
    When I'm told to stand for the national anthem I feel like I'm part of a nationalist gang!

  • ThomasD||

    If your job mandates such behavior my advice would be find a new job.

  • Wearenotperfect||

    No argument here. I just hope the military stops using our tax dollars to promote their business. I hope!

  • ThomasD||

    The military doesn't do it to 'promote their (the NFL's) business.

    That's not how advertising works, you twit.

    The military does it to promote their own business.

    It's recruitment they are after.

    Change the audience, and you'll change the advertising. That was very much part of what was going on here. Now the people who lost are butt hurt that their plan backfired.

  • Wearenotperfect||

    I did mean the military's business. Sorry about that, I should have been more clear.

  • Echospinner||

    The national anthem should be America the Beautiful. There is no reason to have it in football games to begin with.

    While I am at it.

    Daylight savings time should be abolished.

    We should go to full metric in the next generation.

    Do we still need to mint pennies?

    Get off my lawn.

  • Wearenotperfect||

    I'd be willing to bet that the NFL is at risk of loosing a lot more than the crumbs they are crying about now. I could be wrong, maybe not. I guess we'll have to see what other tricks Drumpf has up his coattails.

  • Hannibal||

    This article edges up to making a point and then promptly pivots back to appeasing the typical conservative who can't stand being wrong or the "centrist" who thinks any criticism is wrong if it doesn't target both sides all of the time no matter how much of a moral false equivalency is required. The prez was the one who popularized the idea that the kneeling was disrespectful towards the military. Thus the government is not only not defending free speech, they're meddling in speech and telling their base that anything they don't like is unpatriotic. This is exactly like... nothing. This is a new low for the government interference and the erosion of personal freedoms on a national scale.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Except the NFL was already very restrictive with the players' free expression. They get fined if they wear the wrong type of socks. They can get fined for doing excessive celebrations. If you say anything considered to be homophobic, you can get fined/suspended/lose your job.

    And don't think this has anything to do with jingoism. When Jake Plummer wanted to wear a helmet sticker honoring Pat Tillman, the league told him no; he did it anyway and got fined.

    There's no such thing as "free speech" in the NFL. This thing with the anthem isn't unusual, it's entirely in line with what they do already. And it's mainly because the DoD is paying them a lot of money to do so.

  • MikeyB||

    There is no such thing as an absolute right to free speech wherever and whenever you want. The constitution mentions it only to keep the federal government in check.
    The NFL is a business, the players are under contract, the stadium is a business office equivalent for which the employer can tell their contractors how to behave. In fact, the employer is liable for their contractor's behavior. Now, note the difference between that and when certain internet sites (which are virtual public forums) censor people. Or when an employee gets fired for making an internal comment in the company. There is a notable difference there.

    Huge difference too between that and the government telling you to sit down and shut up or jailing you for what you say.

    I'm sure you don't think I can waltz into your office and stand on your desk and yell at you all day...that would be free speech according to your apparent standards. Or stand in your yard, or run into a court and do it, or a city council meeting, and lot of other places. Akin to the yelling fire in a theater concept is not free speech either.

  • Nelson.||

    This is a hot issue for viewers and those that support the player's protest of police violence. The act has been spoken about and explain, to clarify that it is not meant as disrespect to our military or our Flag, but to protest brutality and the misuse of deadly force against minorities. These players take a knee to give a voice to an issue that needs to be spoken about. I understand people don't like the players protest. But, theirs another side of people who don't like that the public isn't open to having a dialog of clear misuse of force, and the taking of lives. I think it was poor judgment for the president to weigh in here. There are more pressing matters for him to focus on. This was a player, owners and community matter, and he didn't help the matter, only escalate tensions. This is a matter for people to have an honest dialog about a clear problem, and take steps to fixing it. We are all Americans what happened to united we stand or divided we fall.

    Nelson
    www.theweeklydeals.com/newsfeed

  • MJBinAL||

    Sorry Nelson, but first impressions matter. When Kapernick first did it, he said it was because he was ashamed of his country. That pissed lots of people off. The deed was done and the effort to rewrite what was "really" meant didn't fly then, or now.

  • JueMudJr||

    Team owners allowing NFL players to protest at their place of work - while on the clock, so to speak - makes about as much sense as The Gap allowing its employees to protest at the cash register when you're trying to buy some clothes. Or any business allowing its employees to protest anything (not directly related to work conditions) while at work.

    NFL players are free to take any job offered them, and to use their personal time to protest whenever they want. Yet I can't recall even a single incident in which NFL players "took to the streets" to protest police brutality or any other social injustice. Doesn't police brutality and discrimination warrant using at least some personal time to protest? If a dozen or more NFL superstars decided to get together in [pick a city] on [pick a time] to protest, don't you think it would attract tremendous media attention?

    Furthermore, as we consider this issue, should players' motives matter? Seems like a lot of grandstanding, to me. Does anyone honestly believe the players are really worked up about policy brutality (or any issue beyond their next contract)?

  • Tommydog||

    It seems that a couple of relevant points are 1) that the NFL is experiencing a ratings decline and an an employer is within its rights to assert that its employees not do things that might be angering its audience. 2) There are union agreements between players and management. I find it hard to believe that these agreements don't address making political statements while at work. So, management is either acting within these agreements or violating them, in which case the unions will assert themselves.

  • XenoZooValentine||

    Worth reading whenever somebody posts that xkcd meme:

    https://blog.erratasec.com/2014/04/ xkcd-is-wrong-about-free-speech.html

    (Just take the space out because the commenting system sucks.)

  • flyfishnevada||

    The NFL is perfectly within its rights to do this. And I don't care either way. The NFL isn't running around crowing about diversity of thought and free speech. They aren't wagging their finger at us telling us we're bigoted and closed minded due to the simple fact we disagree with them.

    That's what Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. do, for instance. They have every right to ban speech on their platform but they claim to support freedom of speech and differing opinions. It's not a legal or Constitutional thing. It the hypocrisy that makes what they do so offensive.

  • MJBinAL||

    This is stupid. There are no free speech issues involved in the NFL rules.

    When you are "on the clock" for your employer, your speech is HIS speech, your actions are HIS actions. He has the right to direct what you will say and what you will do. If that is not acceptable to you, feel free to quit and get another job.

    The NFL could not care less about this shit, EXCEPT, it pissed of a sizable number of customers and started costing them a lot of money. Rule number one of business, the customer is always right.

    The NFL has customers who spend LOTS of money on tickets, and too many of the people pissed off where in the "spend a lot of money on NFL" category.

    Get. Over. It.

  • Oscarson44.||

    So instead of suppressing political differences, I think the NFL should embrace and market them. IMO it would be great if the NFL let each team decide whether kneeling was allowed, not allowed, or required for all team members. Free up players so they could more easily move to teams that fit with their views. The tribal buttons (red vs blue) being pushed would boost viewership/interest, protestors could protest, people who dislike the protestors would have teams to support/games to watch, and everyone would be happy(ish), especially when the other tribe's team got crushed.
    This strikes me as the free market, libertarian answer.

  • TxJack 112||

    Why does a sport have to be political? The real problem is Goodell decided to let Kaepernick throw his temper tantrum after being benched as the starter for the 49ers. Kaepernick wrapped it in some "social justice crap" because the truth would expose him as the whiny 2nd tier QB he has become and why he remains unsigned. The NFL is a business and it is perfectly legal for a business to protect its interests by controlling the conduct of employees. The NFL has a drug policy. In states like California, Washington, Colorado and others the recreational use of pot is totally legal and yet if you test positive for pot in the NFL you are suspended. What is the difference? No one in the NBA or MLB is engaging in this crap and are you going to argue there are not just as many African American players in those sports as pro football? This entire protest movement is about ego, not reform

  • TxJack 112||

    Last year, the NFL suspended Zeke Elliot for 6 games for allegations of 'domestic abuse" even though the police refused to charge him for lack of evidence and the NFL's own investigators told Goodell the woman's story was not credible and there was no evidence to support any part of her claim. Regardless, Goodell suspended Elliott and the court upheld the suspension. This rule is no different and in my opinion much more clear cut. If the players are employees of the NFL and can be punished for behavior off their field, they can certainly be punished for behavior on the field. To claim this is "free speech" issue is moronic. If that is true, ABC had no right to cancel Roseanne yesterday because what she said, no matter how offensive, was free speech.

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