USA Today Sports

Newell: Wake up NFLPA! The NFL is NOT the government!

Newell Normand
July 12, 2018 - 8:05 pm

Do you think the NFL's national anthem policy '”infringes on the players rights?”  

Well, that's what the NFL Players Association is contending, so they've filed a grievance challenging the policy.  The NFLPA says the league issued the policy without consulting them, which is “inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on player's rights.”  An independent arbitrator will hear the filing.

Here are some of Newell Normand's HOT TAKES:

  • Allegedly, the NFL and the players had reached an agreement about the national anthem.  If you don't want to stand for the national anthem, stay in the locker room.  If you come out on the field, you stand. Sounds reasonable to me.  NFL owners are just that - owners of the teams - managers of those businesses - employers of the team.  The NFL wants to market their product a certain way, which is their right.  This was obviously not a satisfactory position according to the players.
  • Some are claiming it's a First Amendment issue. “Oh, you've got a First Amendment right to do this; you've got a First Amendment right to do that.”  Well, wake up people!  The First Amendment protects from government intrusion, and the NFL is not the government. 
  • You have 53 players on an NFL roster, and everybody's going to have a different issue that concerns them.  And it's all well-intentioned; I get that.  But, you won't be able to manage it.  What if 53 players want to take a stand or display about 53 different issues?  
  • The policy is one thing, but enforcement is another. There's probably more of a slippery slope there because of the collective bargaining agreement.
  • As employees, you have certain rights, but they're very limited.  Most of the states these NFL players are working in are at-will states. You enter into negotiations vis-a-vis your union and a collective bargaining agreement.  It's a balance of interests. You give up some certain rights, and you get other certain rights.
  • When you're stepping out onto that field of play, you're at work.  It's like being a UPS driver and deciding to put a sticker on the side of your truck that advocates for whatever position you want that day.  It doesn't work that way.  
  • You can walk out of any NFL stadium and walk onto a public piece of land and say whatever you want, protest whatever you want.  But, when you're on the field, you're an invited guest, really.
  • What don’t we get about this?  

Listen to Newell Normand's entire conversation with WWL legal analyst Doug Sunseri and your calls below.

Comments ()