• phil cantor/@osgphil

Would NFL teams not on the field for the National Anthem solve your anxiety issues?



So, we've begun another NFL season and we're still having debates over social stances and what players should be doing during the playing of the National Anthem.


The answer is what seven teams decided to do on the opening weekend of the 2020 season.


Stay off the field.


Yes, that's right. Whine, bitch, complain, throw un-necessary politics around all you want, there's no reason for them to be on the field during the playing of the anthem.


Think back (I know I'm asking a lot) to a much calmer and less aggravating era where we didn't all spend our time shouting at each other neither listening or hearing what the other is trying to say or understanding that just because we believe something doesn't make it true or right.


The NFL did not require players to be on the field for the Star-Spangled banner until 2009. Yes, that's right. Just over 10-years ago. For me, roughly the last time I was on the field to cover a game as a sports video photographer and producer.


Proof of this change is easy to find---if you are willing to look:



The NFL says the policy change was not a result of U.S. Military services paying for promotional spots and opportunities during game day productions, but the dates of the two events do run very close to each other.



My point here is not to take sides or make a political statement, my point is to try and make at least one person think or do some homework before complaining about all this controversy surrounding players and the anthem.


I said it when Colin Kaepernick kneeled and decided to make his statement about the treatment of minorities in the U.S. and I'll stand by it. None of this has to do with "Patriotism" which somehow over the past 4-5 years has become a thing everyone seems to wrap themselves in. It has everything to do with a statement about systemic racism in the country and that it needs to change. (again another conversation for another day)


I'm not going to get into the issue of athletes and finding their voices and speaking out either. I've said my peace on this issue. I probably will vent about people angry about athletes taking a stand and the odd fascination with NFL TV ratings because of it here soon...but not right now.


2020's opening season saw SEVEN teams stay off the field before the game. All 30 should be doing this.


Because I said I wouldn't get into some of the social issues involved, I'll stay clear of the Dolphins decision to stay off the field and make an extremely strong statement about justice. All I'll say is they are my team, I agree with them and it's their right to do what they feel is best.


The rest is another discussion for another day.


Listen, I know there are a lot of people who don't understand, don't care or hate NFL players for making a stand. At the end of the day, there's likely nothing I can say, or they can say that is going to change your mind.


Yes, it's a little disappointing and in a lot of ways really sad that we're having a conversation yet again regarding the anthem and a sports event.


Surely some of you--someone remembers a time when the anthem singer would march onto the field with a band or whatever, sing the song and get the crowd riled up, followed by both teams running onto the field in a chorus of fireworks and noise. It really wasn't that long ago.


If you are offended by the idea of not having teams on the field for the anthem, answer this question: Did it bother you back in the day when it didn't happen? Were you upset in 2005 when you went to a game and it didn't happen? Did you even think or care about it then?


If it didn't bother you then, why should it bother you now? What changed? Seriously. What changed other than the year?


If you can give an answer that doesn't have to do with politics, I'd love to hear it. If you can explain it in a rational way that makes sense, let me know. I think it would be a great conversation. I"m willing to listen.....are you?

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