After the release of Nike’s recent ad featuring Colin Kaepernick, the NFL announced that they will be disregarding the ban on kneeling until maybe next season. The ban was faced by backlash and arguments from players, coaches and viewers of the sport alike for being against basic first amendment rights.
Earlier this year, the NFL announced it would be banning players from kneeling throughout this season. Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the policy in May, saying that players would get fined if they continued to protest. Many showed their support, crediting the commissioner for his decision.
Of course, with praise comes criticism. Other NFL fans declared the policy a violation of players first amendment rights. Coaches stood with their players saying publicly that they had the choice to kneel if they wanted. The backlash was so prominent that the NFL Players Association was able to have the league table the policy in early July, which only lasted two months, as the league could not reach a consensus between teams. Some teams decided just to fine protestors, other teams decided to suspend them . Since there was no agreement, the ban was frozen.
After Nike’s recent ad with Kaepernick as its face, the NFL released a statement saying that it will not be enforcing the ban at all. It also revealed that the ban is out of question until next year. Lifting this ban does not mean players who choose to protest are out of the clear entirely. Players still run the risk of losing a contract since the owners do not agree on the consequences of protest. On the brighter side of the controversy, the NFL Player’s Association has the opportunity to be at the table when the conversation arises again.