The 2016 NFL season officially kicked off with a full slate of games on Sunday. It was also the 15th anniversary of 9/11. National anthem protests and political comments the past few weeks surrounded the NFL. Sunday was a day to keep watch. There were protests and unity on display during the pregame rituals. One issue that drew attention was the American themed uniform accessories.
On the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, patriotism was in full effect nationwide. NFL players around the league wanted to display their American pride in unique ways. The NFL has a uniform protocol that every player must abide by. This protocol approves every helmet, jersey, pads, cleats, etc. to be worn by all players. However, custom cleats and gloves are often a norm. September 11th was a great situation for players to wear custom American themed accessories. However, the NFL was not tolerating that.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stated that players will receive fines for wearing attire not approved by the league. These fines can be pretty hefty too. Sometimes they can range from $20,000 to as high as $40,000. That’s a lot of money for the average person, but for an NFL player making a couple million a year, it’s nothing. One department had something to say about fining players for displaying patriotism on a tragic anniversary. That department was the Port Authority Police Department. The PAPD is the department that patrolled the grounds of the World Trade Center Complex. After losing 37 officers in the 9/11/01 attacks, the PAPD vowed to pay for all fines given to players for wearing the American themed accessories.
These fines have created a backlash towards Goodell, but that’s just one of many considering his track record since being named commissioner in 2006. Players want to have fun while playing a game they love. Fans want to see the league support the heroes in arms. It’s unfortunate that the NFL makes this a strict ordeal, but this sort of publicity is definitely not needed considering what’s going on with protests regarding the national anthem.
I do know the NFL is a multi-billion dollar league that has an enormous influence worldwide. It is the most profitable American sports league, and continues to grow year after year. The events that transpired over the weekend are not favorable in the eyes of the public, but these antics have been going on for the last decade under the current administration.
As the old saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Until next time.