Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Oh Say Can You See Why the NFL Doesn’t Get It?

The issue of players kneeling during the national anthem is front and center again due to the NFL’s zest to please everyone, including any and all potential paying customers.

Embed from Getty Images

The national anthem is the hot-button topic in the NFL again, but that’s not the case where other games are being played.

At PNC Park on Monday –– Memorial Day –– the Star-Spangled Banner was presented to an attentive, respectful audience, and played out without incident (at least that’s what it looked like from the concourse to those filing in just before the first pitch).

At Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night, there was also no hint of controversy (at least not any broadcast by NBC). The NHL quite likely could have pulled off a second anthem sans turmoil had the playing of “O Canada” been necessary.

And in the NBA, presumably, they’re managing to stage the games without much of a national anthem distraction (I don’t watch the NBA much, but such a development would have surely cracked the news cycle by now, wouldn’t it?).

Only in the NFL, which is currently conducting voluntary practices that for many of the players are perceived as mandatory, is the proper protocol for the anthem a subject of great debate and consternation.

“We’re the highest profile league in the country,” Steelers president Art Rooney II maintained to a small group of reporters last week, “and I think that’s certainly a factor on this subject and other subjects. People react to positions taken in the NFL and by people who are connected with the league, no doubt about it.”

He has a point.

But the NFL has still dropped the ball on “Anthem-gate,” and the responsibility for the unbecoming fumble falls on the owners and the players alike.

The owners invited contempt when they announced their new policy –– stand and respect the flag and the anthem on the field or stay in the locker room or somewhere else out of the public’s eye –– without any input from or consultation with the NFLPA. A little give and take on the subject would have gone a long way. It might have even allowed the anthem flap to eventually fade away, something it appeared to be well on the way to doing late last season.

It’s front and center again due to the NFL’s zest to please everyone, including any and all potential paying customers.

As for the players, while their hearts and their social consciousness may indeed be in the right place, a few too many have failed to recognize or overstepped the line between activism and conduct unbecoming as dictated by an employer.

Steelers guard Ramon Foster isn’t one of them.

He recognizes the “constitutional rights” argument associated with taking a knee to protest perceived injustice, but he also recognizes the argument doesn’t end there.

“There’s also workplace rules, too,” Foster said. “Weed is legal in certain states, still can’t smoke it in the NFL.”

No one associated with the Steelers thinks this will fester into the type of issue that can fissure the locker room or otherwise distract.

“We’ll handle it like pros,” Foster insisted. “It won’t be a situation for us. Other teams, we’ll see what happens. I’m sure when the summer breaks everybody will voice their opinions. And I’m sure it’ll be a highlight opening day (in September). Our thing is just, minimize the issue.

“We’re here to play a game.”

If the NFL is lucky, everyone will remember that eventually.

The league has itself to blame for having forgotten as much in the first place.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

The 400-Word Review: Green Book

Don't mistake this breezy drama for Oscar material; it's a well-acted holiday ramble, but not much more.

How Pittsburgh Chefs Spend & Prepare Their Thanksgiving

Seven Pittsburgh chefs share holiday traditions as well as tips for preparing a perfect meal.

She Spends her Holiday Singing in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

White Oak resident Jenny Joyce will join more than 100 fellow Macy’s employees on the “Singing Christmas Tree” at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

She Restores Dignity One Tattoo Removal at a Time

Bridget Miller performs free tattoo removal for former gang members and prison inmates.

PG&H Brings Locally Made Home Goods to Downtown

The yearlong pop-up shop on Smithfield Street features everything from wall coverings to furniture, all crafted by local makers.

Your Ultimate Holiday Guide to Family Fun in Pittsburgh

We found the must-do events you should put on your holiday bucket list this year.

A Chess Phenom at 4, Pittsburgh Teen is King of Queen's Gambit

Ashley Lynn Priore is teaching young Pittsburghers chess so that they can empower themselves and their communities.

A 9-year-old's Nonprofit is Still Giving Back 12 Years Later

Started by college student Conner Hagins when he was 9 years old, Cuddles for Kids strives to brighten up the lives of hospital patients with toys, treats and special events.

PM on KD: Our December "Faith" Issue

Pittsburgh Magazine editor Brian Hyslop appeared on KDKA's Pittsburgh Today Live to discuss our December cover story on what local faith leaders say is how best to move forward in the wake of the Tree of Life tragedy.

Meet Pitt's Soft-Spoken Professor Who Writes Crime Novels

Writer Kathleen George’s sinister mysteries have created a dark, alternate Pittsburgh. In her latest, however, the heyday of the Hill District is brought to life.

Yes, Virginia, Christmas is Preserved and Restored in Oakmont

The volunteer-run Kerr Museum offers tours on Saturdays — with a festive twist for the holidays.

Catching Up With Rivendale Farms Susanna Meyer and Neil Stauffer

The two foundational figures of Pittsburgh's sustainable farming movement blend old-school know-how with forward-thinking practices at the Washington County farm.

MultiStories: Three Times a Bust – The German National Bank

The bank was at the center of a corruption scandal which eventually led to an overhaul of Pittsburgh city government.

Matters of the Heart

In a city of eds and meds, it’s to be expected that some couples are going to meet in the medical field. We found some of the best “meet-cutes” from recent Pittsburgh weddings.

At Scene75, Be a Kid (or Bring Your Kids)

The entertainment center in Edgewood is a great time with or without little ones.