The protests within the NFL started small. Last year, when Colin Kaepernick refused to stand during the National Anthem, many fans became frustrated at the seemingly-unAmerican decision.
During “Sunday Night Football” this week, NBC experienced their lowest television ratings of the season as players continue to protest the anthem in increasing numbers, according to the Washington Free Beacon. The obvious reason for this decline in popularity is that people simply do not like what they are seeing. Football used to be a fast-paced game where the only thing bigger than the players who score the touchdowns were the hits. Today, it seems, it is also a political forum.
Sunday’s game was between the Washington Redskins and the Oakland Raiders. According to the Nielson metered-market household numbers, the game scored an 11.6/20.
The rating system means that around 11.6 percent of homes metered watched “Sunday Night Football.” The 20 refers to the estimated percentage of homes that actually had a television and watched the game.
Based on those figures, that is an eight percent drop when compared to the prior Sunday Night Football game that took place between the Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers. Stunningly, that is also a ten percent drop from the same game last year during the third week of the season.
Protests of the National Anthem took place Sunday night. Team members of the Redskins stood arm in arm during the anthem. At the same time, some of the Redskins kneeled as a way to protest, what they are protesting no one is exactly sure anymore.
The initial reason Colin Kaepernick said he started these protests was to battle systemic racism and police brutality. However, it appears they are not really doing anything to combat this problem, they are just not standing during the anthem.
On the other side of the field, almost every single Oakland Raider sat on the bench while the National Anthem played. It is almost nonsensical at this point because no one is explaining why they are doing this, it appears to be a force of sheer ignorance.
This news came to light as other teams protested the National Anthem during other games earlier in the week. Almost the entire Pittsburgh Steelers team stayed in the locker room during the National Anthem, which violates pages 62-63 of the National Football League handbook.
The handbook reads, “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 National Football League handbook instructs players on proper behavior regarding the National Anthem and provides penalties for failure to do so. Should players be disciplined?
In this case, clearly, rules are being broken, especially by the Pittsburgh Steelers earlier in the week. You may be wondering what the punishment is for breaking this standard league rule.
“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 rule reads.
Instead of punishments, we see praise. It is becoming a “trend” that every player seems to want to take part in. Besides being against the rules, it is clearly the unAmerican thing to do.