The last week has been one for the history books, as dozens of NFL players decided to take a knee during their respective game’s national anthem. The protests, which stem from Colin Kaepernicks 2016 decision to do the same, appeared to be more of a statement against the President’s remarks last week, than a statement against America’s treatment of African Americans.
While political pundits continue to argue over whether or not the NFL should have banned such protests, information coming to us this morning has sent shock waves through the sports world.
According to numerous sources, and verified by IR.net, the US Government actually paid the NFL in order for them to bring players onto the field and stand for the national anthem during special ceremonies. Up until 2009, NFL players sometimes remained in their respective locker rooms, especially during prime time games, while the national anthem was played on the field. Then starting in 2010 this all changed, as players were required to come onto the field prior to the playing of the anthem, during every game, while the live television audience was able to see the players’ patriotism on display.
Starting in 2011 and continuing until 2014 the Department of Defense spent an estimated $5.4 million in contracts with 14 NFL teams for patriotic ‘flag ceremonies’. Additionally, from 2013 to 2015 the US National Guard also payed the NFL a staggering $6.7 million for similar flag ceremonies, basically giving the NFL incentive to get players to participate in such patriotic displays.
While, it is against the First Amendment for the government to force individuals to stand for the national anthem, it is not illegal for a company, like the NFL to require such participation.
So, we now have this entire dialogue pertaining to players’ participation in the national anthem, all while just 8 years ago, players did not participate in the anthem at all during prime time games. Basically it wasn’t until the government began paying the NFL to have these ceremonies, as a recruitment tool for the military, that players stood in the national spotlight during the anthem for every game.
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