There’s a showdown coming to the NFL over the anthem protests

This is the last Sunday before NFL owners meet to discuss how to end the anti-American anthem protests.

With ratings cratering, the protests are starting to leave a mark on the NFL’s bottom line.

But the NFL anthem protestors forgot this one crucial thing.

Players are all talking about their First Amendment rights.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive lineman Gerald McCoy said he thinks there would “be an uproar” if the NFL decides to force players to stand for the national anthem.



ESPN writes:

“I don’t think guys are gonna like it,” McCoy said, when asked about the possible reaction from players. “I think it’s gonna be an uproar if that is to happen because you’re basically taking away a constitutional right to freedom of speech. If guys wanna have a, I guess you would call it a peaceful protest, I don’t think it’s right to take that away.”

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews told ESPN:

“It’s your right to stand or sit down. You have that right, that freedom of speech, and you’re not allowing that to happen.”

He went further this week by telling a local reporter on Twitter “I would be done playing football,” if the NFL created a rule requiring players to stand or face a penalty.

Matthews deleted the tweet shortly afterward.

Perhaps these anthem protestors should have paid more attention in civics class.

ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith, who is by no means a conservative, dropped some knowledge on players who have made similar arguments:

“We have to remember when everybody wants to bring up first amendment privileges, basically the intent of it all was for government not to be able to silence you–not the private sector.

And the National Football League is the private sector.

And if they decide that they want to silence these individual players, if they decide they want to implement a rule that states: ‘You must stand for the national anthem, you must come out that tunnel, out of that locker room, be on the sidelines and stand for the national anthem,’ it’s perfectly within their right to do it as a private industry and a private employer. That is a fact.”

Smith added the fact that the NFL is even considering such an action shows there’s a “whole bunch of people out there who feel this way about this issue.”

If the NFL does put an end to the anthem protests, would you go back to watching?

Vote below and then sound off in the comments!

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84 Comments

  1. Enough. Quit complaining and forget the NFL ever existed. No more need to respond to inflamatory articles. No one who could do anything about the situation will be reading these comments anyway.

  2. There have to be players that do not agree, but have to go along because of their contract, etc. Hopefully some of these can continue to try to convince others that they are cutting off their nose to spite their face. Some players cannot afford to protest for very long without hurting their families. It seems such a small thing to give up a huge salary for, but if they choose to do this they have to know that they are going to lose viewers that may or may not come back when this is settled. Choose your options carefully, many of us viewers will not be affected terribly if we don’t get to see you for awhile.

    • It’s too late now. It doesn’t matter to me if the privileged begin acting as if they are respecting the flag or Anthem. Time for a huge pay cut. So long nfl as we knew it. No tears here.

  3. At the very least,the players that protest, should have to say in the locker room and then come out to a crowd of booing fans.

  4. The nineteen words of the 1st Amendment read as follows;
    Or the right of the people peaceably to assemble,
    and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    The NFL is not the Government it is a private business, so
    the players should be holding their protests in front of the
    Congress of the United States, not on a football field where
    their rights are invalid, because the Flag and the Anthem
    are not a business nor a Government entity, so take your
    protests somewhere else and don’t violate the public rights.

  5. WHEN PEOPLE DO NOT HONOR OUR AMERICAN FREEDOM FLAG THEY ARE JUST NOT WORTH TO MAKE THEM RICHER WE WATCH THE GAMES THEY BECOME MILLIONAIRES, OR BILLIONAIRES AND THAT IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH.ONE IDIOT KNEELS DOWN AND REST OF THE IDIOTS KNEEL. SPORTS GGODBYE

  6. I don’t care what they do: these overpaid, tattooed, entitled thugs need to grow up!@ screw them all. NO MORE NFL!!!I HOPE THEY CEASE TO EXIST!!!!

    • I was reminded of something that happened about 10 years ago, does any one else remember a political party that tried to get the NFL banned because it was promoting violence and kids were getting hurt while playing. They didn’t get away with it then but it looks like they are going to do it this time by turning the players on there fans, everyone knows that you don’t bite the hand that feeds you and you don’t disrespect your supporters, somewhere along the line they have forgotten those rules and it’s going to be there down fall. There are so many other things they could have done, bringing up the end result of years of bad choices is not going to help they need to start with the cause of the problem if they really want to fix it and the could help fund groups in the same neighborhoods they came from if you can teach them there are better ways to get ahead in life then crime they wouldn’t have problems with cops that end in tragedy.

  7. I’m tired of the overpaid having their way. They got a privileged ride through college, many of them got free passes when they did bad/illegal things, many took money/gifts from alumni, etc. I had to work my way though school, and I’m supposed to be one of those privileged white dudes.

  8. The NFL made a BIG MISTAKE, ignoring The sitting and kneeling, giving apparent legitimacy to this “protest”. Now these spoiled crybabies are claiming a right they do not and should not have! The government cannot(legally) limit free speech, private enterprise can especially when it financially damages the enterprise’s bottom line. This has and is happening, If these spoiled brats don’t wake up they will be out of work and broke!

  9. you do what your Boss or the Person who signs your check tells you to or don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out. If these protester want to know how long they will be missed they need to put their finger in a glass full of water then remove it and see how long the hole remains in the water!!!

  10. Making them stand is no different than if you are a truck driver and the company tells you to run the speed limit and you keep speeding and get fired. They are paying you to do a job by there rules and if you don`t they have the right to fire you.

  11. So many of us seem to get it, I’m not sure why those in the NFL and the Players still haven’t figured it out, you stand for the Anthem it’s as simple as that, and as so many have already mentioned it’s not about their rights or freedom of speech, it’s about showing pride and honor to your country, to those of all races, creeds, and religions, that died and gave all, trying to shape this country and make it what it is to day!

    P.S….should it require the NFL to make it a rule that they must stand and this is the only way to make them stand, then count me out of ever watching the NFL ever again, their act of standing would be hollow in my mind. They must stand because they choose to (not due to a rule) and show respect to this great nation and it’s Flag and those that gave all!!

    • Jc, I’ve heard that there already ARE rules regarding the players’ conduct during the National Anthem. They are REQUIRED (and it isn’t just a suggestion) to stand during the anthem and place their right hand over their hearts. It’s in the rule book. They’ve already broken the rules. But then again, when did those guys ever act like any rules pertained to them, anyway? From now on we’ll always wonder (that is, if they DO start standing again) whether or not their respect for flag and country is genuine.

  12. The NFL, NBA, Disney, ESPN and the rest are only entertainment, nothing more. Most will NOT return to watching racist, bigoted, anti American actors who suck at their job. The actors overplayed their hand, now they all lose. Good By NFL, NBA, ESPN and Disney.

    • It is amazing how much more peaceful my Sunday has become without the roar of the lions in the nfl…church, Sunday Dinner with the family and NO NOISY THUGS ACTING LIKE THE FOOLS THEY ARE!!!!

  13. To force players to stand does not remedy their anti-American attitude. I will not watch rich dimwits yield to the threat of lost income and stand for the anthem. Forced patriotism is a complete farce. The owners and league officials have also shown their true colors in their hesitation to condemn these actions at the start.

  14. I guess you realize that that men and women black&white alike have died for what you think your rights are To do what you are doing,go to a V>A> hospital and tell them why you disrespect,see what your cong. & senators think of them,and tell them the police treat them bad,these men don`t near what deserve and always stand for flag & national athem, ask them what they think of you, without arms legs eyes and who knows what else.All stronger than you will ever be some waiting for weeks months years,to get the treatment,for ailments do to fighting for you and this is the respect you give them,someday maybe you find what you it is not the country that did this it is the politian that but they never here from you, it`s always the country,what fools we are.

  15. All I can say is they must all be hermaphrodites as they have certainly F__ked themselves with their ignorant thinking about free speech. Yes they have the right to mouth but we the fans still have all the aces if we choose to not leave any bucks at the ticket windows, concession stands, the retailers that sponsor them, or the NFL items that people used to buy to express their team preference. All that is gone for the SAB’s and if they NFL thinks that not showing the Anthem on the tube is going to help they can think again. If i ever choose to watch another game on the tube and I don’t see the Anthem played I’ll be gone again forever. These SAB’s think they can come around for a week or two and act like they are all patriotic and we will forgive and forget. I have in the past how much patriotism there is in the NFL when the cameras pan the players and they are shooting the shit, telling jokes playing grabass etc. So you think I am going to believe these same assholes have suddenly taken on patriotism. No it is called greed and they may stand. But proper salute is to stand at attention facing the flag with you right hand over your heart. I’d be willing to bet there is not 10% of the players that can even tell you that or even care for that matter.

  16. No it seems the NFL is not ALLOWING the showing of our proud American Flag, or the Star Spangle Banner to be televised!! So I guess th answer is act like an ostrich, hide your heaand you won’t see the discusting kneeling. Get real NFL the alienation is growing from the players and the NFL..

  17. As I understand it when they signed there contracts to play ball for the NFL they are REQUIRED to stand with hand over hearts and show respect!!

  18. If you do not respect the Flag you do not belong in the country.
    Go someplace that treats your so called law breakers an open ticket, someplace that does not have Vets, police or 1st responders

  19. Vietnam Vet Marine 70% of the NFL is made up of Afroamericans who make millions of dollars to run, catch or throw a football. These are the players who make up the majority of the protest. The majority of them could not spell cat unless you spotted them the ca. Some please tell me where are the real men of the NFL like PAT TILLMAN.

  20. The NFL has been driven to the end by left wing loons. Like the cities of Chicago , Detroit, Baltimore – the entire state of California they will soon be broke – unusable to pay their bills – the lights will be off – and the players will be on government assistance. The once mighty NFL with players making salaries in the multi -millions plus all of their advertisement endorsements – GONE! There is an old saying that goes “No matter how good something gets’s – there’s always some a**hole that has to come along and ruin it for everybody.” R.I.P. NFL

  21. It really is not about their first amendment rights. It is about respecting our anthem. BTW, it has already been proven that blacks are not the worst treated by authorities so the protest does not hold water. It is just idiot activists like Al Sharpton causing all this and he is a tax evading SOB. Obama’s little imp!

  22. First of all I don’t watch football not even the superbowl I think the news is egging them on against Trump. You can see the Steelers looking up at the cameras. Don’t film them doing it,they will stop,but the liberal news won’t do that,now that it’s going good for these Simon Sayers they will keep doing it. Let them search for the cameras,because most of them don’t even know why they’re doing it

  23. You cannot fix STUPID…..the morons don’t understand that the FANS pay their huge salaries……so making the FANS ANGRY is really, really the height of STUPIDITY.

  24. This is exactly the kind of thing that Hitler did before taking control over Germany, making people dishonor their native country by some cockamamie reason like protesting their countrymen. Hitler first disarmed Germany citizens, then defamed their flag, then….we know the rest of the history. President Trump is NOT doing that, he is doing the opposite, the protesters are acting like Hitler, Liberals are the real new nazi’s, by silencing those who are in opposition of them, and by silencing decency that comes from honoring our American Flag. Their charge is lead by Al Sharpton and BLM, which would be like Hitler and his Nazi militia, but worse. These protesters are dissing America while still collecting their millions of dollars from Americans and American Veterans. Talk about being HYPOCRITES!

  25. This is showing our youth that you can disobey your parents, bosses, and America by being a thug. This has become more about these “oppressed millionaires racist”. What happened to the NFL football I used to watch. These thugs are not football players they are “Black Panthers”. White players are being injured because they don’t agree with these thugs. My cousin played for the NY Giants in the 70’s when football was a proud sport. I will not watch NFL again ever. As far as I’m concerned the Commissioner & coaches showed how much money rules the game, that they would condone such action and defiance, they are telling the people that pay their checks “to hell with you”. Why are they getting tax breaks and are Government subsidized. Instead of Stadiums let’s help give those in need of homes from disasters. Never will I watch pro football again. I will not buy from any of there sponsors also.

  26. Al Sharpton, the famous champion of the downtrodden (but does not pay his taxes), says the players are slaves to the racist farm system of the NFL. I would gladly work on a farm system that paid me millions of dollars to work 5-6 months a year. Grow up Sharpton and “players”. Sign a contract like I and many others did pledging our life as collateral for others to have these “slavery conditions”. Remember, we who pledged on that contract (All gave some, some gave all and came home with the flag draped over their coffin). Semper Fi to All who Served.

    • Thank you, for your service, for fighting the good fight and never giving up; WE THE PEOPLE, humbly, respect and adore you and your bothers and sisters in arms; may God always hold, each of you, in the palm of His hand and provide you safe passage, where ever you may travel. Peace and blessings – –

    • Look what happened to Arron Rodgers.. smart azz cocky prick… The Packers better NOT think of having Colon kapperdick replace him either..I haven’t burnt my Packers attire yet but I definitely would if kapperdick puts on the Green and Gold!! That would be the end of football forever.. We aren’t watching now hoping they’ll stop locking their damn arms together and respect the flag and honor it during the anthem.

  27. to bad these cry babies do not know what they are protesting they are so ignorant they play follow the leader and just like spoiled brats when told not to do something they do it just for spite. so these assholes will cut off their noses to spite their face. they are only hurting them selves and the nfl .you can do a lot of things and get forgiveness,disrespecting our flag is not one of them to hell with those ingrates and the nfl

  28. When craperman took a knee last year I immediately purchased a flag pole, American Flag and a U. S. Marine Corps flag. I proudly display these Flags on my front yard and stopped watching the 49er losers. I now do not watch the NFL period.

  29. The damage has been done. What the players never understood is that we go to football for entertainment, not to hear political activism and their opinions. Football was our escape from political issues. I don’t want to watch now knowing that standing is only because they will lose millions. Took the escapism away from all of us.

  30. Also, I understand that the NFL already HAS a rule about standing on the sideline, holding your helmet, hand over heart. Why don’t they just enforce the rules already in place… too simple? They don’t need another rule. I defend thei right to say or do anything they want… just not during a football game. I could care less what their politics are. Just don’t try to force me to listen to or watch it in return for watching you PLAY A GAME! I have tuned you out now.

    • Yes, it reads: “Teams will assemble on the sidelines before the playing of the National Anthem. They will stand holding their helmets in left hand with the right hand over the heart and refrain from talking.
      Any violations will be subject to suspensions, fines, and forfeiture of draft picks.” Taking a political stand when you are at work you can be fired. When these idiot players go out on that field they are at work and the clock starts ticking. You can protest and exercise your free speech rights on your own time. People watch or go to the games to get away from politics and issues. They want to watch a game. Remember it is this country who gave you the opportunity to succeed and prosper playing this game. Try doing it another country. So stand up or suffer the consequences!

  31. When craperman took the knee last year and started this mess I immediately purchased a flag pole, American Flag and a U. S. Marine Corps Flag. The Flags are proudly displayed on my front yard and I stopped watching the 49er losers. Now I refuse to watch or support the nfl

  32. …the outrage of the disrespect to our flag and national anthem has only brought anger to your fans…. your cause has gotten lost …. just play football

  33. The players do have freedom of speech and have a right to express their views. But they have chosen the wrong forum to express themselves and must be willing to except the reaction of the game’s fans. Fans that disapprove or disagree have the right to stop attending or watching the games. Sponsors have a right to withdraw their advertising and financial support. All this can impact the player’s multimillion dollar income and privileges. Also as they show their disrespect for America the will loose the respect of many of their former fans.

  34. Players need to be fired!!! They are paid way to much money. It really doesn’t matter to much to me because I hate football and I never watch that crap anyway. They are not worth the money they get. They need to be paid minimum wage. I have no use for football! They are there for the money.

  35. Players have the right to stand or sit, yes, and we the public have the right to accept this standard or forget about football. I choose to forget about football, my country, flag and the men and woman the give these freaks the right to do such a thing is a disgrace, and I for one will not put up with it.

  36. Even if these players stand during the anthem, I will no longer watch the NFL as they are only standing because they HAVE to, not because they want to….

  37. All any patriot should want from the players is respect for our flag, anthem, and most of all our Country. We all grew up standing with hand over heart quietly listening with great pride of our Country. And, nothing else is acceptable from any American citizen (and forget this standing arms linked stuff, that is just as bad). When the players show proper respect, as we were all taught to do, I will watch again and I believe sooner or later the fans will return no matter how angry we are now. So players, please go protest in a more suitable place and way.

    • NFL owners need to get their backbones worked on, NO true AMERICAN has the right to disrespect our FLAG or National Anthem!, if your going to protest whatever!, you need to go the the appropriate place, like the courthouse in your area!. The law should be replaced the it should be a crime to disrespect any national issue. God Bless America & President Trump

  38. They STILL don’t seem to understand. This isn’t about freedom of speech! I’m pretty sure we are all in agreement that everyone deserves the right of freedom of speech, but this isn’t about that. It’s about patriotism in general. During the National Anthem isn’t the time or place to take a stand against fairness in treatment by the police… that place should be the police station where the officer works. If it’s about the justice received for some petty crime, take your pissing and moaning (or kneeling) to the county courthouse. They chose the wrong time to behave like A-holes, and now they have a permanent black mark in the hearts of Americans.

    • But, they have gotten so much attention for doing it, they won’t give up the airtime or the camera time easily. This is better than any end zone choreographed dance for them. This is pure cocaine for their selfish little hearts.

        • They won’t take a pay cut without a strike. The players union will back the strike, even though the revenues are down to the point that continuing the multi million dollar salaries will bankrupt the team. For some reason they don’t understand that if you take in 250 million, you can’t pay out 300 million. Common core math turns out common core idiots who think they can get blood out of a turnip. 17% loss in viewership on Monday night is a huge setback, and will result in loss of advertiser revenue. If the whole thing continues, the money will dry up. These players will strike and end their careers, and they will end up like 75% of NFL players who are broke just a couple of years after leaving the league.

      • Exactly. And take them to jail when there are suspected of dui. Give them no breaks that they are used to geting for being an athelete.

      • That’s right, Jane! Just like the people in the political offices want to disarm America’s general public are themselves guarded by armed bodyguards, and those who oppose the wall separating Mexico from the U.S., each have locks on their gated, rolling estates… with high walls. All paid for by our tax dollars. They coddle to these unpatriotic jerks, and we stand helplessly by in fury and disgust.

      • And that Jane is thankfully what some police departments are doing. Mahoning County Ohio Sheriff Jerry Greene said his deputies will no longer go to the Cleveland Browns stadium to do security. So he stopped sending them out there to assist Cleveland Police with security at the stadium. One of the reasons I will vote to reelect Sheriff Greene when his next term is up!

      • WELL SAID….. AGREE WITH YOU 100%. THIS ALSO GOES FOR ALL OF HOLLYWOOD AND GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS THAT STAND BY THESE CLOWNS AND OTHER PROTESTORS…. NO PROTECTION FOR THEM EITHER….. PERIOD!

    • My husband and I totally agree with you. Football players have ruined a great past time.We are saddened by their hate for Our country. Why would we buy a ticket or a jacket to support UN-American fools.Soon NFL will be gone thanks to these UN-American asses.

    • Yes i agree the wrong time and place.they should do it on their own time but i will never watch the nfl because i know they were forced to stand.how sad they are.i dont understand if they hate america so much why they dont move to another country

      • Michael, I agree. But they have the right to protest-free speech! BUT they have to know that their free speech/protests have consequences. They are protesting on my dollar-I choose not to pay them. Protest on your OWN time-not mine!

        • They have no free speech in the private sector. So, off work they may bitch, but at work, they can be made to follow the requirements of their contracts. And those are that:
          They will be:
          on the field
          In uniform
          At attention for the national anthem.

          Breaking these violate their contract & lose their job. ALL those sweet millions…..GONE…….POOF!
          Better read your contract law guys. The owners are losing millions because of your antics. In my view, i would fire your unrespectful asses.

  39. According to one federal judge discussing a private company and First Amendment rights, the private corporation cannot silence speech unless such speech or actions harm the private corporation financially. Financial harm has been done. So many have left the NFL and many say they will never return. NBA and Disney (ESPN) are clueless also.

    • I AGREE WITH BRUCE. HOWEVER, IF THEY DO AGREE TO STAND IT WILL BE ONLY FOR THEIR FINANCIAL GAIN. THEY HAD THEIR SAY, I HAD MINE AND THEY CAN GO SOMEWHERE ELSE TO PLAY FOOTBALL AND SEE IF THEY ARE ALLOWED TO SIT OR KNEEL IN THOSE COUNTRIES WITHOUT UPROAR!

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