TRUMPED! NFL mandates players must now stand for national anthem after multiple scoldings from POTUS

Atlanta, Ga. (USA Today) — Amid repeated protests during the playing of the national anthem over the past two seasons, the NFL on Wednesday passed a revised policy that mandates players and team personnel present on the sideline “shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.”

The revision allows players who would not wish to stand to remain in the locker room. Also under the revision, each franchise will have the power to issue their own policies, which could include fines for players protesting the anthem, under the conduct detrimental provision of the league’s personal conduct policy.

The league also now has the power to fine any franchise that has representatives who do not stand or “show respect” while present on the sideline for the anthem.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the agreement was reached unanimously by owners at the league meeting in Atlanta, but Jed York of the 49ers said his team abstained.

“We want people to be respectful to the national anthem,” Goodell said in a news conference. “We want people to stand. That’s all personnel, and make sure they treat this moment in a respectful fashion. That’s something we think we owe. We have been very sensitive in making sure we give players choices, but we do believe that that moment is important and one we are going to focus on.”

Several players last season followed in the footsteps of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who in the previous year chose to kneel during the national anthem as a form of protest against police brutality and racial inequality. By the start of the 2017 season, there were only a handful of protests during the anthem. Then, in a September rally, President Trump referred to a player who protested social injustice by kneeling during the national anthem as “son of a (expletive).” Many teams and players responded by participating in demonstrations that featured kneeling or standing with arms locked.

“It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic,” Goodell said in a written statement that announced the revision. “This is not and was never the case.”

The NFL Players Association has already taken issue with the policy, which was reached without the union present.

“The NFL chose to not consult the union in the development of this new ‘policy,’ ” the NFLPA said in a statement. “NFL players have shown their patriotism through their social activism, their community service, in support of our military and law enforcement and yes, through their protests to raise awareness about the issues they care about.

“The vote by NFL club CEOs today contradicts the statements made to our player leadership by Commissioner Roger Goodell and the Chairman of the NFL’s Management Council John Mara about the principles, values and patriotism of our League.

“Our union will review the new ‘policy’ and challenge any aspect of it that is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement.”

The new policy reads in full below:

POLICY STATEMENT

The 32 member clubs of the National Football League have reaffirmed their strong commitment to work alongside our players to strengthen our communities and advance social justice. The unique platform that we have created is unprecedented in its scope, and will provide extraordinary resources in support of programs to promote positive social change in our communities.

The membership also strongly believes that:

1. All team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.

2. The Game Operations Manual will be revised to remove the requirement that all players be on the field for the Anthem.

3. Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room or in a similar location off the field until after the Anthem has been performed.

4. A club will be fined by the League if its personnel are on the field and do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.

5. Each club may develop its own work rules, consistent with the above principles, regarding its personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.

6. The Commissioner will impose appropriate discipline on league personnel who do not stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.

Lorenzo Reyes of USA Today contributed to this report. 

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BANNING THE ANTHEM: California high school pulls ‘racist’ National Anthem from school rallies

SAN RAMON, CA — A high school in San Ramon, California is under fire for forbidding the national anthem from being played at school events.

The Student Leadership Council at San Ramon’s California High recently made the decision to remove the national anthem from school events on the grounds that playing the anthem was “offensive” to blacks and other minorities.

In a letter to the school paper, Student Body President Ariyana Kermanizadeh called the third verse to the full anthem (https://tinyurl.com/ybzac2rv), which reads, “no refuge could save the hireling and slave” out as being particularly offensive.

“This verse translated, finds joy in the killing of African-Americans. To think that our nation’s anthem once had the word slave and ‘land of the free’ in the same sentence leaves me speechless” Kermanizadeh wrote.

But many of the school’s parents and students are outraged over the decision.

“The rally started and it got going and I realized there was no national anthem,” California High senior Dennis Fiorentinos told ABC7 (https://tinyurl.com/ya6ldx5x) of noticing the anthem missing for the first time during a school event. “It clicked in my head that they didn’t do the national anthem. I thought they forgot about it.”

“The importance of singing the national anthem to honor and respect those who’ve died and sacrificed their lives and protect the freedoms that us Americans take for granted every day is a much more important and unifying issue,” Fiorentinos continued. “The message behind the national anthem is one of unity… to protect the freedoms that many of us take for granted every day.”

Another student, California High senior Amir Udler, took to social media to call for the return of the national anthem.

In a Facebook post, Udler said the culture of political correctness will never end “if we don’t stop this right in its tracks.”

“We must recognize and learn from the awful stain on the history of our country that is slavery. But we can not allow under any circumstances for every patriotic icon that we have to be taken apart and disposed of merely because of any associations it might have,” Udler wrote. “It comes from a very disrespectful place. [Leadership] said it was in the name of ‘exclusivity’, but in reality, [leadership] is disenfranchising the vast majority of the school who loves the country, and who thinks the anthem should be played.”

“How can you start any event without the national anthem?” a parent angry by the decision to remove the anthem told ABC 7. “The whole thing is just ridiculous.”

In a statement, San Ramon Valley Unified School District spokeswoman Elizabeth Graswich addressed the controversy, saying the decision whether or not to return playing the national anthem at school events will ultimately be left up to the student council.

“The students understand that there are objections to their decision and will be using this opportunity to have further dialogue about future rallies,” the statement read.

So far, the council doesn’t seem to be backing down.

In a statement released late Tuesday, the council said what’s most important at this time is to be sensitive to the feelings of minorities.

“The decision did not come from a place of disrespect for our great military and country, but rather out of a desire to show respect to those who have been marginalized and alienated,” the email said.

The council said it apologizes to any veteran or active military who may feel “offended” by their decision.

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FARMER’S FIELD MESSAGE TO NFL GOES VIRAL: ‘We stand for the national anthem’

EDGELY, N.D.– A North Dakota farmer has found sudden fame after a message he carved into a field on his property went viral.

Gene Hanson, 77, of Edgeley, North Dakota plowed “We stand for the National Anthem” in response to the decision of several NFL teams to kneel during the playing of the national anthem in protest to what they claim is mistreatment by police toward minorities.

Hanson’s message, which spans the length of two football fields, caught the attention of the local news and quickly went viral.

“I go with [President[ Trump on this one,” Hanson told Fox News on Tuesday (https://tinyurl.com/yblt9ala). “If you want to protest, that’s not the place to do it.”

“A lot of people died over our flag. We’re able to voice our opinion because of it,” he added. “If you’re going to show respect for anything, do it for the national anthem.”

When asked what type of technology was used to create the message, Handon said all he relies on is his trusty Massey tractor. “No need for GPS,” he said.

Hanson, an admitted fan of President Trump, says he believes the president is doing his best to bring about change, but faces a “continuous battle” in Washington, D.C. so he does what he can to send messages of support from his rural farm.

In addition to his message about the national anthem, Hanson says he’s also carved “Drain the Swamp,” “Blue Lives Matter,” “Feel the Bern,” “GOP, get your act together,” and “Vote Trump” into his land. His writings have made him somewhat of a local celebrity

Despite the support he’s received, Hanson admits he did catch a little flack from local Democrats after “Never Hillary” appeared in his beanfield during the 2016 election. “Most responses have been positive, though,” he said.

For his next work of art, the farmer says he plans to pay tribute to Jesus Christ.

“We kneel at the cross,” says Hanson, will soon grace his field.

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‘GREAT ANGER’: Trump calls on NFL to order players to stand during national anthem

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A fed up President Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday to unleash his rage against NFL players who refuse to stand for the national anthem.

In a barrage of tweets, the outspoken president called for NFL owners to mandate that all players stand for the national anthem or risk being fired.

“The booing at the NFL football game last night, when the entire Dallas team dropped to its knees, was loudest I have ever heard. Great anger,” Trump wrote in one tweet.

“The NFL has all sorts of rules and regulations. The only way out for them is to set a rule that you can’t kneel during our National Anthem!” he wrote in another.

The president’s latest round of comments come after his speech in Alabama on Saturday during which he called out Colin Kaepernick, who sparked controversy last year when he refused to stand for the national anthem in “protest” of police brutality.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired,’” Trump said to the cheering Alabama crowd.

The NFL, less than thrilled with Trump’s comments, pushed back, with several teams vowing to kneel during the anthem or stay in the locker room in protest of the president’s comments.

The decision to do so was met with tremendous backlash from the right, particularly from pro-veterans groups who saw the decision to kneel as a show of disrespect for the flag.

“Anybody that don’t stand up for the anthem oughta be out of the country. Period. What got ’em where they’re at? The United States,” Nascar legend and team owner Richard Petty said of the controversy (https://apnews.com/dc7ba43160d049eca3a0460d093ad8e1/The-Latest:-NASCAR-owners-discourage-anthem-protests).

Several of Petty’s fellow team owners echoed his comments, adding that any driver who refuses to stand for the anthem will soon be finding themselves a new job.

“Anybody that works for me should respect the country we live in. So many people gave their lives for it. This is America,” said Richard Childress team owner of drivers Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon and Paul Menard and longtime car owner of Dale Earnhardt, who added that kneeling on his team would “get you a ride on a Greyhound bus.”

Responding to critics who called his comments racially motivated, Trump said race played no issue in his demand for respect for the national anthem. His motivation, said the president, was about patriotism.

The president denied those charges on Monday, arguing that his comments were simply about defending the American flag and the country against disrespect.

“The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!” he tweeted.

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STANDING FOR WHAT’S RIGHT: Alejandro Villanueva merch flies off shelves after Steelers player stands alone for national anthem

PITTSBURGH, PA — Patriots across America flocked to sports stores on Monday, clamoring for merchandise bearing the name of Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva.

The rush for fan gear comes one day after the former Army Ranger defied his coach’s order to sit out the national anthem, choosing instead to come out of the locker room and stand in support of the flag and, according to the NFL’s official online merchandise site, Villanueva jerseys are far outselling those of his fellow NFL players (http://www.nflshop.com/Jerseys/pg/1/ps/84/so/top_sellers).

Villanueva’s defiance followed calls by President Trump for NFL players to show support for the flag.

In a barrage of Sunday morning tweets, Trump criticized players who bent a knee in protest instead of standing for the national anthem and called out the NFL for their ever dropping ratings, claiming patriotic Americans were “fed up” with player tactics.

The tweets came just one day after the President told a crowd of supporters at a rally in Alabama that NFL team owners should fire any “son of a bitch” who “disrespects our flag.”

However, despite almost instantaneous social media praise for Villanueva from NFL fans on Sunday, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin made it clear he was less than pleased with his player’s decision to ingore a direct order.

“Many of them felt like something needed to be done. I asked those guys to discuss it and whatever they discussed that we have 100 percent participation or we do nothing,” Tomlin said in a post game news conference. “They discussed it for an appropriate length of time and they couldn’t come to an understanding, so they chose to remove themselves from it. They were not going to be disrespectful in the anthem so they chose not to participate, but at the same time many of them were not going to accept the words of the president.”

When asked about Villanueva ignoring the order and coming out for the anthem, Tomlin replied: “Like I said, I was looking for 100 percent participation, we were gonna be respectful of our football team.”

Many of Villanueva’s fellow teammates also took a swipe at his decision to stand for the pledge.

“Some guys wanted to take a knee, guys wanted to stand,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said after the game. “We said whatever we do, we need to make sure we’re unified as one group because that’s what we’re about, and that’s what this should be about is staying together as one unit and one group and one brotherhood, things like that.

“So rather than have some guys kneel and some guys stand, the conclusion was made kind of by everybody that the best thing to do was just to stay in the locker room or in the tunnel, if you will.”

Steelers linebacker James Harrison echoed Roethlisberger’s comments, telling Penn Live (http://www.pennlive.com/steelers/index.ssf/2017/09/steelers_national_anthem_vote.html), “We thought we were all in attention with the same agreement, obviously. But, I guess we weren’t.”

However, not all of Villanueva’s teammates disapproved.

One fellow teammate, Cam Heyward, said he stands by the bronze star veteran’s decision. “We support our guy Al,” Heyward told ESPN (http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/20810701/pittsburgh-steelers-surprised-alejandro-villanueva-move). “He feels he had to do it. This guy served our country, and we thank him for it.”

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ROCK SOUNDS OFF; Senate candidate defends use of Confederate flag in show; blasts those who refuse to stand for national anthem

DETROIT, MI — Rocker and possible Michigan senatorial candidate Kid Rock shot back at critics on Monday who ridiculed him for his use of Confederate flags in his shows and blasted professional athletes who refuse to stand for the national anthem during games.

Responding to a planned protest by the National Action Network’s Detroit chapter of his six upcoming Detroit concerts, Rock, who’s real name is Robert Ritchie, said his critics, who are mainly on the left, are simply “wasting Time.”

“Pay NO attention to the garbage the extreme left is trying to create! (and by the way, f–k the extreme left and the extreme right!),” the singer wrote Monday on his official Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/kidrock/posts/10155502465850049). “They are trying to use the old confederate flag BS, etc. to stir the pot, when we all know none of this would be going on if I were not thinking of running for office.”

Rock, 46, who announced last month that he was considering running for Michigan Senate on a Republican ticket, said his detractors were throwing accusations around that he was a racist because they fear his possible run.

“Pretty funny how scared I have them all and their only agenda is to try and label people / me racist who do not agree or cower to them,” he wrote. “My track record in Detroit and Michigan speaks for itself, and I would dare anyone talking trash to put theirs up against mine. I am also a homeowner and taxpayer in the city of Detroit, so suck on that too!”

“I am the bona fide KING OF DETROIT LOVE and it makes me smile down deep that you haters know that! Your jealousy is merely a reflection of disgust for your own failures and lack of positive ideas for our city,” Rock continued.

“I am however very disappointed that none of the people, businesses or charities I have so diligently supported in Detroit have had anything to say about all these unfounded attacks from these handful of jackasses and The Detroit Free Press. So for the unforeseen future I will focus my philanthropy efforts on other organizations besides the ones I have supported in the past,” Rock went on before turning his sights on black rights activist Al Sharpton’s highly publicized issue with back taxes . “I would however employ that NAN go ahead and make up these losses since they claim to be so good for Detroit and do not want me opening the arena and generating tons of jobs and tax dollars for the city and people I LOVE… IDIOTS! ….. (Has Al Sharpton even paid his back taxes yet?)”

Lashing back at the National Action Network’s targeting of his upcoming performances in response to his criticism of former NFL player Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the national anthem last year, Rock didn’t mince words.

“To be clear – F–k ANYONE who takes a knee or sits during our national anthem! Pretty sure if Russell Wilson or Tom Brady were doing it they would have no problem finding a job playing for any team they wanted in the NFL! So cut the bulls**t!”

“I know I should probably not even have posted anything about these bottom feeders but I will always stand up for myself, my family, my friends, my fans, my city, my state, my country and the good in human nature,” Rock wrote before ending his online rant, “P.P.P.P.P.S. I LOVE BLACK PEOPLE!!”

The rocker signed his online tirade, “God bless”.

Calls for comment to Al Sharpton’s spokesperson have not yet been returned.

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