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the Chicago Bears (21st Sep 18 at 1:21am UTC)
With its decision to ban kneeling during the national anthem Shaq Lawson Jersey , critics are accusing the NFL of prioritizing being in the good financial graces of mainstream America over the social justice passions of its players trying to draw attention to the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of police.

Some opponents of the new policy now vow to never watch an NFL game again.

The NFL’s new anthem policy – similar to NBA rules in place for decades – makes the athletes stand for ”The Star-Spangled Banner” or be absent from the field while it’s played.

Critics say the league acted without input from its majority-black players and buckled to pressure from some major advertisers and even President Donald Trump, who rallied his mostly-white base against players for failing to display their patriotism, shifting the debate from social justice for minorities to how to act during the anthem itself. Others, including some players, applauded the league’s action or took no issue with the policy.

”I think they made this decision to placate Donald Trump and those like him who blindly equate standing for the national anthem with patriotism,” said Democratic U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus. ”The country I want is a country where everyone wants to stand for the national anthem,” Richmond said, emphasizing the word ”wants.”

Vice President Mike Pence tweeted ”(hash)Winning” and declared the decision ”a win for the fans, a win for (President Trump), and a win for America.”

The NFL started requiring players in the league to be on the field for the anthem in 2009 – the year it signed a marketing deal with the military. Its new rule passed Wednesday permits players to stay in the locker room during the ”The Star-Spangled Banner” but requires them to stand if they come to the field.

Taking a knee during the anthem has been an issue since August 2016, when now-unemployed quarterback Colin Kaepernick started protesting the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of police. The issue bubbled over from the field into living rooms as other players joined the movement, and morphed into a larger discussion last fall when Trump called on NFL owners to fire players who did not stand during the national anthem.

”This is white supremacy, period. A blatant and disgusting attempt to strip black athletes of their voice and reduce them to a number on a jersey – all while continuing to profit off of their bodies,” said Rashad Robinson, executive director of advocacy group Color of Change.

Bree Newsome http://www.washingtonredskinsteamonline.com/deshazor-everett-jersey , who climbed a pole to snatch down the Confederate flag at the South Carolina statehouse in 2015, tweeted: ”For the white-owned NFL to blackball Kaepernick & then change policy to specifically target Black athletes’ protest of racism is not simply a matter of football. It is about using one of the largest stages in America to reinforce racial caste in USA.”

Civil rights groups denounced the decision.

”Instead of working together to address an issue disproportionately plaguing the communities of the majority of NFL players, the owners instead desire that players bury their heads, shut up, and just play football,” NAACP chairman Derrick Johnson said.

Kaepernick and other NFL players who kneeled said their protests were over the shootings and other mistreatment of African Americans at the hands of law enforcement. The quarterback was not resigned by the San Francisco 49ers after beginning his protest and has not played for an NFL team since. He has filed a grievance against the league, as has out of work safety and fellow protester Eric Reid.

Calls to boycott the NFL because of the anthem decision started immediately online. NFL fans previously had threatened to boycott the NFL because players were kneeling during the Star Spangled Banner, and others said they wouldn’t watch until Kaepernick was signed by a team. Now a new group is promising not to watch pro football games.

”As a former NFL player I am extremely conflicted but more than likely will not be supporting anymore until this is resolved amongst other issues,” said Matthew A. Cherry, who played for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers and the Baltimore Ravens.

The NFL Players Association said it would challenge any changes that violate the collective bargaining agreement.

”This is fear of a diminished bottom line. It’s also fear of a president turning his base against a corporation,” Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long said on Twitter . ”This is not patriotism. Don’t get it confused. These owners don’t love America more than the players demonstrating and taking real action to improve it. It also lets you, the fan, know where our league stands.”

Cardinals safety Antoine Bethea, a 12-year NFL veteran http://www.indianapoliscoltsteamonline.com/erik-swoope-jersey , said ”fining players for really expressing what they believe, I think that’s kind of overboard.”

Others said they approved of the compromise.

”I’m going to stand for the national anthem,” Denver defensive end Derek Wolfe said. ”Whatever anybody else wants to do, that’s their decision and they have the right to their opinion. So, they can do whatever they want – as long as they stay in the locker room, I guess.”

Pittsburgh Steelers guard Ramon Foster shrugged his shoulders when asked about the policy and said that in a way, players are powerless.

”If the team says, `This is what we’re doing,’ and ownership (does too), you either deal with it or you’re probably going to get The Heisman Trophy that Lamar Jackson earned as a 19-year-old and the 119 touchdowns he produced at Louisville don’t carry any weight at his first NFL training camp.

Just like all the other Baltimore Ravens rookies, Jackson has to prove he can make the transition to the pro game.

And he’s totally fine with it.

”It feels good just being out here with NFL talent,” Jackson said. ”It’s not college or high school anymore. You’re a grown man. You have to show up and show out.”

Jackson played well at minicamp in the spring, and the first-round pick continues to impress this summer. He’s not about to unseat 10-year veteran Joe Flacco, who’s assured the starting job, but the fleet-footed newcomer has turned more than a few heads with his ability to escape a collapsing pocket and sprint downfield.

”He likes to run, very fast Josh Bellamy Jersey ,” Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs said. ”He’s very exciting, a young talent, and he approaches the game with the kind of requirement that quarterbacks are held to in this league. He could have a promising career.”

At Louisville, Jackson did it all. He threw 69 touchdown passes and ran for 50 scores before opting to toss his name into the draft after completing a junior season in which he was named a Heisman Trophy finalist for the second year in a row.

Known more for his legs than his arm, the 6-foot-2 Jackson was on the brink of dropping from the first round before the Ravens worked a trade with Philadelphia and nabbed him with the 32nd overall pick.

Eager to blunt any notion that Jackson would compete for the starting job, coach John Harbaugh immediately stressed the job belongs to Flacco. There’s veteran quarterback Robert Griffin III to contend with, too, but instead of considering them rivals, Jackson views them as teachers.

”I’m still learning,” the 21-year-old acknowledged. ”Everything they do, I’m trying to mimic.”

Jackson, however, has his own special skills. The Ravens know it would be foolish to keep him on the bench, so they’re trying to find creative ways to work him into the offense. At a recent practice, he threw a pass to Flacco, who lined up as a receiver.

”We’re going to see what everybody’s strengths are Jerrell Freeman Jersey ,” offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg said. ”We’ll try to use all of our players that are eligible, we’ll try to use the whole field, we’ll get it to our best players.”

Jackson has impressed his teammates and the coaching staff with his athleticism and willingness to work.

”I’ll tell you what, Lamar’s done just an outstanding job,” Mornhinweg said. ”Everybody in this league has some uncommon tools, and he certainly does. You can see on the practice field. He’s way ahead of the curve now.”

The next step for Jackson – and by far the most significant thus far – is going up against outside competition. Come Thursday night, in the Hall of Fame Game against the Chicago Bears, it will be time to see what he’s got.

”I’m looking forward to it,” he said. ”I have to show them my talent in the preseason games.”

It may not be pretty. There might even be an interception or two. Not that it matters.

”With a young player, I don’t think you expect perfection,” Harbaugh said, ”but he looks pretty good out there to me.”



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