Commentary: The NFL Banning #TakeAKnee Is White Supremacy At Work

05.23.18
Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall taking a knee

Brandon Marshall, a linebacker for the Denver Broncos, kneeling in protest during the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” prior to the start of a game between the Broncos and the Indianapolis Colts, Sept. 18, 2016, at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Jeffrey Beall via Wikimedia Commons)

Today, the NFL solidified itself as one of the most systematic white supremacist organizations in the world.

They did that by releasing a statement outlining new policies, the most troubling of which states, “All team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.” Players who don’t want to stand for the anthem, the policy states, must stay in the locker room. If any players on the field don’t stand for the anthem, the team will be fined.

Threatening teams with fines for those who do kneel is directly stating that the opinions and words of their players do not matter. And now that this policy is etched in stone, those opinions most likely never will matter.

It’s funny to put into perspective that the NFL believes that they have “reaffirmed” their commitment to their players in an effort to strengthen communities and “advance social justice,” while they are doing the complete opposite.

Forcing team personnel to stand for the anthem and threatening those who don’t with fines is the complete, utter opposite of advancing any sort of social justice.

The most troubling thing, however, is the continued point made by the NFL that the #TakeAKnee protest is against the American flag itself or the anthem itself. It is not.

Kneeling, locking arms, and other forms of protest during the anthem are directly related to the injustices Black people–even the NFL’s Black players–still face every day. This is something the NFL has been told time and time again, yet has chosen to ignore. It is a complete disgrace that policies were put in place to change the way people are allowed to protest.

Meanwhile, while the national anthem is played at the start of an NFL game, the U.S. flag continues to be flown flat and horizontal, in violation of U.S. Flag Code. So is the NFL really tired of disrespect for the flag and the anthem? Or are they tired of players exposing the extremely damaging and problematic ideals that still thrive in this country and very possibly through many of the NFL owners?

To make things very clear, threatening team personnel with monetary penalties for protesting against social injustice is white supremacy at work. Using scare tactics such as the possible loss of a job to prevent players from protesting against social injustices is white supremacy at work. An NFL quarterback not getting signed by a single NFL team because of his fierce commitment to protesting social injustice is white supremacy at work. The NFL demanding that all players stand for the national anthem, despite the fact that taking a knee is not intended to show disrespect for the flag or the anthem, is white supremacy at work. The NFL is white supremacy at work.

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