While the First Amendment prevents government from abridging freedom of speech, it does not prevent the NFL from having a code of conduct...
- AFA Sr. VP Buddy Smith
Over the past few weeks a handful of NFL players have refused to stand during the playing of America’s national anthem. Fans have been outraged that the NFL sits idly by while its employees disrespect this great nation.
Many who defend the players protest have cited the First Amendment as justification for refusing to stand during the national anthem. While the First Amendment prevents government from abridging freedom of speech, it does not prevent the NFL from having a code of conduct that requires its employees to stand at attention during the playing of the national anthem.
The National Football League has many standards when it comes to player conduct. Players are only allowed to wear gear during interviews and games that is authorized by the NFL. Violation of the gear standards can bring hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Eonline.com provided what they called 14 "ridiculous" examples of players being fined for violating NFL policy.
Congress has established standards for participation in the National Anthem. The NFL has fostered an environment that allows blatant disrespect for our anthem, flag and nation. 36 U.S. Code 301 says, "all other persons present should face the flag and stand at attention with their right hand over the heart, and men not in uniform, if applicable, should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold it at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart..."
How embarrassing will it be if dozens of professional athletes begin to sit on the bench while the national anthem is performed? Imagine the disrespect for America that will follow if the NFL continues to allow this.
Urge the NFL to respect 36 U.S. Code 301 and fine each player that refuses to stand during the national anthem.
Send an email to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (through his public relations director), make a personal phone call or reach them via social media.
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