Why The NFL Had To Ban Kneeling During The Anthem

in news •  6 months ago

Like almost anything, people try to turn big business decisions into something to rant about on Facebook. Just today, the NFL announced they would ban kneeling before the national anthem.  The decision was made by all the owners and from a business point of view... it is a good one.


You can read the full story here.

In my humble opinion, I believe the owners had no other choice because it was hurting the brand. The NFL is quickly becoming a stage for activism and not a stage for sports entertainment. All of the political back and forth that the players have been involved in, has sparked a lot of great conversations and raise awareness to major issues. It has also hurt the bottom line.

Viewership has been declining over the last three seasons and the NFL risks losing more if they didn't do something. Football is an American sport and for many people, not standing for the anthem is disrespectful. Many of those same people tune in Sunday to watch. 

Picture of troops watching the NFL on Luke Air Force base. (Source)

On the other side... Banning the kneeling may make some people mad that enjoy the freedom of speech the NFL has allowed.

The thing is, the NFL is a business and the owners are there to make money. If they allow players to distract from the game because of a social or political agenda, then they are doing a disservice to the league and the business. The right move was to ban it and move on. Let the players find other ways to support their causes. The NFL already gives the players a huge platform to grow their fanbase and get national exposure. They can use that to then push causes. 

I don't think we should expect businesses to make decisions to further social and political causes. We should expect businesses to make decisions based on money.  On the other hand, we should spend our time and money with businesses that we believe in.

I for one, have given up the NFL and they don't get any of my money. That being said, I clearly see why they banned kneeling and it makes good business sense. The real question is, will it help with the slacking viewership or do they have a much bigger problem on their hands?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Thanks for reading.

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Too little too late, they should have done that before they alienated their core audience. They are screwed long term anyhow, so many other sports on TV to watch and their game causes brain damage so no one will want their kids to play. This sort of mismanagement will just hasten their demise.


I agree. I won't let my son play football. I tell him that the future of the NFL won't look like the football he sees on TV now.


Have you seen Knife Fight yet?


It's pretty fricking awesome.

One of the winners said winning made him a man. It was amazing.

I think the expectations of something different to happen other than the ban was kinda foolish. Politically wise we could go on forever about whether it’s right or wrong to kneel during the anthem but business wise it’s a known fact that uncertainty and continuous controversy hurts every business.


That's the truth. Yeah I don't care if people protest or not, but it's big business. They have to make the best decisions for the money of the league. It should be expected. I just don't care either way. I'm not a fan anymore. Thanks for the reply.

I truly believe that many businesses and people have it wrong; businesses should not exist purely to make money.
Businesses exist as a part of society, and should exist at the pleasure of society. They have an ethical duty to improve society and mirror the morals that are pervasive within that society.

Rendering businesses only purpose as making money, is damaging, look at banks. A bank used to be a safe place where you could deposit and borrow money, a bank manager was a pillar of local community, you could absolutely trust your bank and they were deeply concerned about ensuring clients best interests were at the forefront of the agenda. Now look at the profligate behaviour of banks in recent times. No sooner had they bankrupted themselves and their host nations playing roulette on the sub-prime mortgage debacle, as soon as they were bailed out they began the same behaviour on sub-prime car loans, which could cause another crash quite soon.

Demand your businesses behave ethically, they will still make money and employ people, but they will be working with you, not against you.

As to the NFL, in this case I agree, politics has no place in sport, but not because if profit. Sport should be a means for society to broker peaceful competition.


A well worded response. I like you point about the responsibility of businesses, though I think corporations and countries have strayed a long way from that. This is why supporting small business is so important.


There are some larger businesses that do ok, but in general you are right, small businesses tend to have a better connection to their community and are more visibly accountable.

The NFL needed to take a stand one way or another. They are a business and like all businesses, they set the rules for the way an employee will be required to act or behave while on the job. I don't disagree with the employees taking a knee, to be honest. After reading statements and interviews, I believe the act was not done out of disrespect for the flag or the country (including the men and women who defend it), but was a respectful way to peacefully protest. Some might disagree and say doing anything but falling in line and standing is disrespectful (in an interview with Kaepernick, his decision to kneel came from a friend of his who had been in the armed forces and stated that to simply sit on the bench would have been disrespectful), but that is a point of debate. Our country allows for peaceful protest and the men and women who serve it are fighting for that kind of freedom. The other point of debate was whether the stage for that protest was on the job.

Whatever the opinion, I think we can all agree that the protest was hurting the NFL and affecting the wallets of the men and women who control it, so I am not surprised they banned it. If those who were kneeling truly felt that strongly about their cause, will they continue to play for that money? Will they stick to their guns and move on?
My guess, they will take the paycheck.

If they wanted to get rid of protests, the last thing the owners would do is ban them. If they had simply done nothing it would be eventually forgotten. The ban was designed to stoke the fires of controversy and drag out the issue. This was done for one reason, ratings. Last season ratings were falling dramatically until the protests boosted them. Extended controversy will help their bottom line.