Think about a basketball referee that calls a foul after the crowd moans and boos. Sometimes they call a foul to make up for the one they missed. The NFL conducts business the same way. They suspend players to make up for cases they botched. They also make collective bargaining agreements and don't abide by it.
A few months ago, the NFL owners unanimously approved a new national anthem policy that requires players to stand during the performance. If anyone doesn’t want to stand, they must remain in the locker room. The rule forces players to stand and not protest in the national spotlight.
The change came after many players around the league chose not to stand during the anthem in the last couple seasons. Initially, Colin Kaepernick took a knee to draw awareness to issues of social inequality against minorities. After the rule was placed, players and team personnel were subjected to a fine if they chose to knee or stand during the anthem.
Roger Goodell said, “We want people to respectful of the national anthem. We also are sensitive to the players’ needs.” Ironically, the owners’ actions and decisions lack sensitivity and consideration of the players’ needs. They don't care about the players at all.
They chose to not be respectful of the collective bargaining agreement and the players’ rights. That is why the NFLPA filed a grievance against the league’s new rule a few weeks ago. The NFL agreed to hold discussions in hopes of finding a solution. They should have wanted that from the beginning. The NFLPA went to social media to further explain their stance.
According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, the NFL and NFLPA came to a standstill agreement. All the policies and rules pertaining to the anthem is on hold until the discussions between the NFL and the union to run its course.
The development came after the Miami Dolphins submitted their conduct policies to the league. According to the Associated Press, Dolphins players who protest on the field during the national anthem could be suspended for up to four games under a team policy issued this week. Once the league got word of this, they decided to put everything on hold before things get out of hand.
The league’s reactive behavior demonstrated through the personal conduct policy. Almost every suspension related to sexual assault or domestic is inconsistently given and shows how much the NFL could care less. In 2014, Ray Rice was suspended two games for violating the personal conduct policy after a domestic violence arrest. Only after a video surfaced of him punching his wife was he suspended indefinitely.
Why does it take a public outcry for a player to be punished harshly? In 2016, Josh Brown, New York Giants former kicker, was suspended one game for allegedly beating his wife. Last year, Brown finally admitted to violent behavior and six more games were added to his punishment.
After botching two cases, the NFL decided they should target a high-profile player and punish him regardless of the truth. Ezekiel Elliot was suspended six games last season for domestic violence allegations. He was investigated for a year before the league finally coming to that conclusion.
The NFL’s Lead Investigator recommended against the suspension after interviewing with the accuser. The police found no crime and Elliot was never charged. The league chose to uphold the punishment anyway.
Most recently, Jameis Winston, quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was suspended three games for sexually assaulting a female Uber driver. How did he only get three games when he also had sexual assault allegations at Florida State University? A repeat offender should be punished severely.
The rules and policies in place are a joke. The NFL wants to be the judge, jury, and executioner on everything. They don’t want to consult with players on any decisions. Lastly, they are only motivated to improve their policies if the public outcry is loud enough to shatter their window shield.