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Make The NFL Stand

Football players across the country are protesting the nation anthem because of a lack of leadership — on a club level, a league level, and a national level. Long ago the Supreme Court of the United States determined there is no free speech or freedom of expression at work. The NFL tightly controls everything a player does from what he consumes to what he wears. The owner of the Dallas Cowboys has made it very clear he expects each of his players to stand for the national anthem — they’ve all stood as a result. He didn’t have to threaten his players he simply told them what he expects of them. The players who refuse to stand for the national anthem simply lack leadership.

What most NFL players fail to realize by not standing for the national anthem they are in direct violation of the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy:

While criminal activity is clearly outside the scope of permissible conduct, and persons who engage in criminal activity will be subject to discipline, the standard of conduct for persons employed in the NFL is considerably higher. It is not enough simply to avoid being found guilty of a crime. Instead, as an employee of the NFL or a member club, you are held to a higher standard and expected to conduct yourself in a way that is responsible, promotes the values upon which the League is based, and is lawful. Persons who fail to live up to this standard of conduct are guilty of conduct detrimental and subject to discipline, even where the conduct itself does not result in conviction of a crime.

Federal law 36 U.S. Code § 301 requires that “all citizens present 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; and when the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed.” Any owner or coach who wanted to get out of a contract with an NFL player could simply cite the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy and 34.301 and terminate their contract without cause.

The average age of an NFL player is 24 while the average age of a United States Marine is 27. The average NFL player makes $1.9M per year and the average Marine makes $22K per year. Care to guess how many NFL players die each year in the line of duty compared to Marines? I don’t. The reality is that until every Marine is home we ought to make every NFL player stand in their honor. If they’re not willing to stand they ought to be sent home so they can focus on their first amendment right of free speech…