The National Football League came to a devastating end last season after divisive politics took priority over the actual sport and one of America’s (former) favorite pastimes. People immediately boycotted and didn’t stop until the season ended, which to say was effective would be a huge understatement. Viewership, ratings, and revenue plummeted to a record low. Major sponsors separated from the NFL and others ended contracts with individual players. The financial loss was felt hard by everyone, except perhaps the league’s commissioner, Roger Goodell who worked all season securing his multi-million dollar contract for the next few years and succeeded at that alone.
As the NFL gears up to enter free agency we can’t help but to think about the disaster that just ended. It was the first time that players began using their status to make political statements by kneeling for the national anthem. Players around the league began to join in, thereby insulting every veteran who fought for there right to play football in a free nation. Sports Illustrated reported that the league lost nearly 10% of it’s viewers after President Trump began criticizing the kneeling players and the NFL for not taking a strong stance against these players.
All this left people unenthused about the next season and wondering what would come of it, if it would change in response to the outrage, or if the NFL would simply accept their plight as being as popular in our culture as the activity of watching paint dry. Now, six months before the next season is set to begin, we’re learning of a major decision that has just been made.
This week, one team came out of the gates saying it would not trade for any player that knelt during the anthem last year. According to Fox News,
The widespread national anthem protests that took the NFL by storm last season will reportedly have an impact on how the Houston Texans pursue free agents.
Two NFL agents told the Houston Chronicle on Saturday that the team is not interested in players who participated in protests during the national anthem. There is no official directive in the organization, but it is understood that the team isn’t going to pursue anyone who participated in the protests, the paper reported.
However, the Houston Texans slammed the report Monday calling it “categorically false and without merit.””A recent report that suggests the Houston Texans would not sign a player who has protested in support of social justice issues is categorically false and without merit. The Texans ownership, coaching, personnel and executive staff sign and hire employees based on talent, character and fit within our organization,” the Texans wrote in a statement.
In response to inaccurate reports regarding potential free agent signings… pic.twitter.com/CvI67Y91Uo
— Amy Palcic (@amypalcic) March 6, 2018
The Texans had their own controversy during the season after team owner Bob McNair said that “we can’t have the inmates running the prison” during a meeting of NFL owners about players who protest by kneeling during the national anthem. He said that if he had a chance to do it over, he would not have used the expression. McNair insisted he wasn’t referring to the players with his comments. He said he was “referring to the relationship between the league office and team owners and how they have been making significant strategic decisions affecting our league without adequate input from ownership over the past few years.”
A majority of the Texans responded to McNair’s comments by kneeling during the national anthem before the following game.
While the Texans aren’t officially acknowledging the statement, it has been widely reported that it is true. It is time for more teams to follow suit. This is football, not a political circus. We don’t care what the players’ political views are, we just want our teams to win. The National Football League also, need to issue a stern warning to teams that allow players to kneel. They can’t afford to lose more viewers this year. The league needs to change, or the NFL needs to stop using the American flag as part of their logo because nothing could be more un-American.