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NFL Introduces Controversial New Policy for the Playing of the National Anthem

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After two years of controversy surrounding players defiantly kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem at NFL games, the league has finally made an official decision about the controversial form of protests. And it just might be the best thing that’s happened to those trying to make a statement–though they’ve yet to realize it.

Last season, ticket sales, viewership, and public enthusiasm for the NFL plummeted as players mimicked former 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s controversial method of protest against the national anthem–kneeling as it was played in the stadium before games.

Apparently, this season, the backlash has caught up with the football league and they’ve decided to put an end to the unpopular demonstration from players–but players are not happy.

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The Washington Times has the story:

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NFL owners stood up Wednesday to the kneelers, voting to ban on-field protests during the national anthem after two years of social justice activism, fan outrage and flagging viewership — but that doesn’t mean game over.

The NFL Players Association blasted the policy change, warning that it would challenge any aspect “inconsistent with the collective-bargaining agreement,” while the decision was decried by others as an infringement of the players’ free speech rights.

Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long accused the league of bowing to President Trump, who whipped up opposition last year to the take-a-knee protests, adding that the owners “don’t love America more than the players.”

“This is fear of a diminished bottom line,” Mr. Long said in a statement. “It’s also fear of a president turning his base against a corporation. This is not patriotism. Don’t get it confused.”

For NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and owners, however, the decision struck a balance between respecting the views of players who object to standing for “The Star-Spangled Banner” and those offended by athletes using the anthem ceremony to further a political agenda.

Trump stoked the fires of outrage at the league last year in a series of–in typical Trumpian style–tweets accusing the players and the NFL of being un-American. Following his comments, however, dozens of players joined in the demonstration, angering fans, some of whom took to social media to burn their NFL jerseys and other fan gear.

NFL leadership and TV executives alike are now clearly determined to rev up ratings, which had dropped following the revived kneeling protests, but it’s unclear yet if it will have an actual impact.

Dave Whitley of the Orlando Sentinel says that while the league’s decision is unpopular among the players who wanted to protest, they’re actually doing both fans and would-be kneelers alike a big favor:

“Most NFL players won’t realize it, but the owners did them a favor on Wednesday. It gets back to a simple rule of persuasion,” he explains. “Don’t start your argument by insulting half your audience.”

“Players can still make stands or take knees. They just won’t be allowed to do it in front of fans that paid to watch a football game, not a political protest,” he continues. “Some of those fans might be more sympathetic to the protesters’ concerns. Players might not realize it, but spitting on something people hold dear is no way to win them over.”

And this is the ultimate bottom line. It’s hard to say if this will actually work to boost fan interest and ratings for the league, but if these players had never chosen a method of protest in the first place that insulted the deeply-held values of so many fans, fans who would otherwise in no way be unsympathetic to their cause, they wouldn’t be in this position in the first place.

 

 

 

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New Jersey Gets Major Disaster Status From White House As Number Of Coronavirus Cases Spike

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President Trump has approved a Major Disaster Declaration for the state of New Jersey as the number of coronavirus cases in the state experienced a dramatic increase on Thursday. Gov. Phil Murphy stated the disaster declaration provides more money to the state to help residents who are impacted by the pandemic. There have been nineteen additional coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the total for New Jersey up to 81. Murphy also reported that 2,492 new cases have popped up, bringing the current total so somewhere around 6,876. A total of 19,364 residents have been tested for the virus with 6,137 having tested positive, giving them a rate of 31.7 percent. Here’s more from The Washington Examiner: Another “gut-punch” reported by the governor were high unemployment numbers. The number of New Jersey residents who filed for unemployment was 16 times the number that filed the week before at 155,000. The state is maintaining a website listing jobs available from essential employers. Three hundred essential employers have listed 35,000 jobs, Murphy said. The site went online Monday and 230,000 people visited, Murphy said. This just goes to show you how devastating this virus can be, not only on the folks who are getting ill, but on an entire state’s economy and job market. Murphy went on to say that the citizens of the state of New Jersey were going to have to be in this for the long haul, noting it could take weeks in order to start seeing a real impact made from the social distancing measures being put into place. The governor also responded to rumors that the school systems were planning to reopen soon, saying the decision rests with him, and that they were not prepared to address the issue again until at least April 17 at the earliest. This is…

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House Approves Massive $2.2 Trillion Coronavirus Relief Bill

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The House has approved the massive and historic $2.2. trillion coronavirus economic relief bill on Friday. The legislation will now be sent over to President Trump’s desk where it will await his signature to be passed into law. The bill was passed by a voice vote, which was a response to an attempt by Rep. Thomas Massie from Kentucky that would’ve required 216 lawmakers to be appear in the chamber for a roll-call vote. Here’s more from The Washington Examiner: Massie opposed the scope and cost of the bill, which, when coupled with additional federal lending authority, he said was “not a good deal” and would equate to providing $17,000 per citizen. “If this bill is so great for America, why not allow a vote on it?” Massie tweeted. Dozens of lawmakers opposed Massie, the majority of which came to the House floor to stress the need for the bill to be passed. President Trump was not at all pleased with Massie over the incident and called him a “third-rate grandstander.” This is a really tricky situation that doesn’t seem to have a very good solution that will please everyone. While the American people absolutely need relief from the disaster that has hit our economy as the result of this virus, we also have to be careful how much we spend. Both sides have some good points, so folks just need to be civil as the matter is debated and discussed.

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