Joshua Hicks is a contributor to WARR and The D & Davis Show
The NFL has experienced a roller coaster season so far with large amounts of National Anthem protests and derogatory comments from the leader of our country in President Trump among its main talking points, but that’s only the beginning.
Things are getting a little spicy now due to Jerry Jones’ recent comments regarding his players and protesting. Jones publically announced that if any of his players protested against the flag, they will not get paid or fired. And it seems like he has the support for this concept, because commissioner Roger Goodell has sent NFL owners a memo stating that they can potentially implement a rule that all players must stand for the anthem.
I do not support this concept that owners are looking to embrace into the league, but if they do adopt this new rule, the league has to be prepared for a long battle between boss and employee.
First, we must remember the true purpose of the protest in the first place. Owners around the league still seem to act like they cannot comprehend the true meaning of the latest protest occurring every Sunday. The protest is not targeted against disrespecting the flag, or any of the army veterans that fought so gallantly for our country’s freedom.
The concept of the protest is raising awareness against the injustices minorities around the country experience everyday, especially in regards to police brutality against black and brown young men and discrimination within the workplace.
Second, we must look at the NFL as a union business, not just entertainment. They have rules and regulations like any other union in America. I believe that it is wrong to neglect me of my amendment rights of freedom of speech, however, a union can implement rules that if you do something that is against the company’s views, you can be fired. That is essentially what the league is doing to solve this “issue.” If you choose to protest, you can potentially be unemployed from your current team.
Third, if the rule becomes part of the law, players have a right to fight against the law through grievance and defamation. Article 43 in the NFLPA Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) allows the players to file a lawsuit against the association for being cut based on your political views, allowing them the opportunity for an arbitration trial, is viewed as a non-injury grievance. This is one of the ways the NFL can receive backlash for trying to implement rules while changing the direct narrative of a global movement.
Lastly, the new rule proposal can actually increase the urge for players to continue protesting. The league is conducted of 70 percent African-Americans. The league has already experienced significant drops in TV ratings this season, varying from 3 to 19 percent according to Michael McCann of Sports Illustrated, but if every player and coach were on the same page with the idea of taking a knee, protesting against the social injustices within this great country, the already powerful movement would really hit the owners where it hurts the most: their pockets.
Protests are not meant to be comfortable and are meant to only raise awareness so we can start the discussion of improving the issues amongst the oppressed. Former NFL players Colin Kaepernick and Antonio Cromartie performed these actions and it did eventually cost them their jobs, but I do not think they will be the only athletes experiencing this defamation. I believe in the amendment rights to freedom of speech and support the protests surrounding the NFL.
The NFL needs to finally understand the purpose of this protest and allow it’s workforce to protest in the way they want or need to express their beliefs, or otherwise the league is in for a rude awakening.
Joshua Hicks is a Chicago-based sports writer and broadcaster, follow him on Twitter @jhicks042; Follow We Are Regal Radio on Twitter @regalradio1 and on Facebook under We Are Regal Radio