American Family Association: Tell the NFL to Fine Players Who Do Not Respect National Anthem
TUPELO, Miss.—Over the past few weeks, a handful of NFL players have refused to stand during the playing of America’s national anthem. Many fans have been outraged as the NFL sits idly by while its employees, whose salaries the fans support through ticket sales, disrespect this great nation.
In a new Action Alert to its one million-plus friends and supporters, the American Family Association (AFA, www.afa.net) is urging those concerned to contact NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and encourage a policy that will fine players for not respecting the national anthem.
“Some proponents of this protest by players have cited the First Amendment as a justification for these actions,” said AFA President Tim Wildmon. “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 NFL has fostered an environment that allows blatant disrespect for our anthem, flag and nation.
“In no other country,” Wildmon continued, “would athletes have the economic freedom to earn the salaries they can make in America. Even that fact alone should encourage them to show respect to our nation, and as their employer, the NFL should set guidelines, as any other corporation would. Sponsors of the NFL are urged to push back on them, too, for their lackadaisical attitude toward this serious matter.”
AFA is educating Americans about standards that Congress has established for participation in and respect for the national anthem. 36 U.S. Code 301 says that “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...”
“The National Football League has many standards when it comes to player conduct,” Wildmon continued. “Players are only allowed to wear gear during interviews and games that are authorized by the NFL, for example. Violation of the gear standards can bring hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Refusing to show respect by sitting or kneeling during ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ should be one of the violations for which players are fined.”
In fact, E!Online.com provided a list of what it calls 14 “crazy and ridiculous” examples of players being fined for violating NFL policy.
“How embarrassing will it be if dozens of professional athletes begin to sit on the bench while the national anthem is performed?” Wildmon added. “Imagine the disrespect for America that will follow if the NFL continues to allow this.”
AFA is urging Americans to tell the NFL to respect 36 U.S. Code 301 and fine players who refuse to stand during the national anthem by taking action in several ways:
- Call NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell at (212) 450-2000.
- Connect with Goodell via Facebook, NFL.com or on Twitter.
- E-mail Goodell through his public relations contact (a pre-written message is provided online)