Jim may be right about the NFL’s new anthem policy backfiring. But the problem here is that a major professional sports league has to have an anthem policy besides everyone, as a matter of un-coerced decency and gratitude, standing up and putting their hands on their hearts. The players backed the NFL into this corner with their stupid and indefensible protests.
Last year when this controversy was at its hottest, I had debates with left-wing supporters of the protesting players and would argue that disrespecting the flag wasn’t going to go over well. They would always come up with sophistical arguments about how it wasn’t really about the flag. To which I’d reply — well then, don’t make it about the flag. There are all sorts of way to express your discontent with policing in America other than disgracing your team and your league by kneeling during the National Anthem. Since the protesting players didn’t realize this or didn’t care, the NFL is going to probably going to have another season of acrimony over one of the most basic civic gestures in America. It’d be much easier for everyone to simply stand up — and if they find that hateful or untoward, grin and bear it for two minutes.