Hartman: The NFL tries to clean up its national anthem morass


The NFL’s new national anthem policy probably makes about as much sense as anything the league could have done after two years of being damaged both coming and going on this topic. 

No one should be required to acknowledge national symbols if they feel those symbols don’t represent them, but there is a difference between being absent and being disrespectful. 

The line there might be fine, but it is still there, and it is significant. 

RELATED: NFL announces changes to pregame rules

Allowing players to opt out of pregame ceremonies means they don’t have to compromise their beliefs and allows those who value those couple of moments to reflect and pay respect to do so as well. 

Obviously those who choose to stay in the locker room will simultaneously be going on the record that they have something to express, and there is no doubt they will not have trouble finding anyone to ask what that might be. 

As for those whose experience was absolutely ruined by the players’ kneeling, they might be wise to look around and make sure everyone around them is paying attention and being respectful, too, but maybe that’s another story. 

All along there have surely been people who would support the players’ actions no matter what they did and people who would oppose them no matter what they did. 

RELATED: Jim Brown supports Kaepernick 100 percent but wouldn’t sit for anthem

The time that the actual act of sitting or kneeling (which was a laudable attempt at compromise) really matters expired a long time ago. 

Despite the serious flaws in the original method and the divisiveness of Colin Kaepernick’s initial explanation for sitting, the potential converts have been converted. 

The holdouts aren’t listening, and continuing to try to get a message across in the same way is senseless (as was the President’s decision to drudge it all back last year). 

The NFL has taken up many of the causes of its players, and the change in awareness, at least of those who will ever be willing to listen, has come. That doesn’t mean the causes the players are fighting for are won, but there are other battles more wise to fight because they can actually be won, too. 

That awareness also means many more people are ready, willing and able to share the story the players want to tell. 

Wasn’t that the point in the first place? 

Because if it was, arguing over how to protest seems like a pretty big waste of time. 


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Cincinnati Bengals: 5 storylines to watch in today’s game at Carolina
Cincinnati Bengals: 5 storylines to watch in today’s game at Carolina

The Cincinnati Bengals are looking for their first 3-0 start in three years when they face the Carolina Panthers on the road Sunday. The Bengals opened the 2015 season 8-0 and went on to make the playoffs for a fifth straight year but haven’t been back since. This season already feels much different than a year ago when they finished 7-9 for...
Ohio State notes: Haskins continues showcase accuracy
Ohio State notes: Haskins continues showcase accuracy

J.T. Barrett broke almost all the school passing records the last four seasons, not to mention a bunch of Big Ten marks. The way he’s playing in his first season as a starter, Dwayne Haskins won’t stick around the college game long enough to challenge any career marks. Haskins continued to compile stats worthy of the Heisman Trophy in his...
HS Roundup 9/22: Packnett paces Dunbar football in win over Woodward

Greg Packnett passed for 145 yards and three touchdowns in helping spur Dunbar football to a 22-20 win versus Woodward at Welcome Stadium on Saturday night. Packnett connected with James Murray and Bryce Smith on TD passes in the first half and hit Jaquan Lusbourgh with the go-ahead score early in the fourth quarter. Aaron Richardson tacked on the...
HS Scores 9/22: Carroll finishes strong in Midwest Catholic race

Football Saturday’s Results Dunbar 22, Woodward 20 Landmark Christian 34, Middletown Christian 13 Friday’s Results Allen East 50, Delphos Jefferson 6 Alter 45, Fenwick 20 Anderson 47, Withrow 12 Badin 42, Roger Bacon 35, OT Bellbrook 21, Franklin 17 Bellefontaine 14, Ben Logan 6 Brookville 42, Carlisle 2 Butler 13, Xenia 7, OT Celina 42...
5 things to know about Ohio State’s blowout of Tulane
5 things to know about Ohio State’s blowout of Tulane

Ohio State rolled Tulane 49-6 on Saturday to end a rocky couple of months for the program.  So maybe it was only natural the state’s official rock song would be what brought Urban Meyer back to normal coaching the fourth-ranked Buckeyes.  “Between the third and fourth quarter, hearing the band play, ‘Hang on Sloopy.&rsquo...
More Stories