Opinion: NFL kneeling ban unfair2 min read

Jeffrey Windham, Staff Reporter

The National Football League’s attempt to stop its players from kneeling during the national anthem is nothing less than unfair bullying meant to appease its predominantly white fanbase.

Starting in 2016, NFL players peacefully protested social injustice and police brutality in the United States by taking a knee during the anthem.

The NFL released a statement on May 23 issuing six new rules they claim helps compromise, meaning players no longer have to be on the field for the anthem, but anyone present must stand. The NFL will fine teams if their player protest and the commissioner can determine any further punishment for players who do not “stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.”

NFL ownership is pandering to their predominantly white fans and commercial sponsors, putting players in a compromising position.

The most important rule change is the last, giving the commissioner power to “impose appropriate discipline.” This rule can be interpreted to punish players however the NFL wants.

The players union stated they were not consulted by the league and will challenge any of these rules that violate the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the National Football League Players Association and the NFL.

Because the NFL is restricting peaceful protest, players are unquestionably risking their livelihoods for social justice. The former San Francisco 49ers super-bowl starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick who began the protest has not been with a team since March 2017 and has filed a collusion case against the NFL.

After the initial protests, former San Francisco 49ers super-bowl starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who began the protests, said, “This is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.”

Kaepernick encapsulates why these protests are so important. They have the power to make real change.

Players took a knee to honor those wrongfully killed by police, and now the NFL is trying to bully them into silence.

De Anza students and football fans should recognize the NFL for what it is: An unfair organization too cowardly to let its athletes have a voice.

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