Embed from Getty Images

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the man who was once thought to rule with an iron fist, has apparently pulled out his rubber hand when it comes to ruling on the National Anthem controversy.

Speaking to reporters Wednesday after meeting with team owners for their annual fall meeting, Goodell said he believes all players “should” stand for the national anthem but said nothing about handing down punishments for those who did not.

Ever since Colin Kaepernick — the overrated, underwhelming flash-in-the-pan former NFL quarterback — started sitting on the bench and later kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem last NFL season, there has been a black cloud hovering over the league. A few other players followed Kaepernick’s lead, but it wasn’t until President Donald Trump made a speech at a political rally, weighing in on the actions of these ungrateful players, that the “take a knee” movement really began to pick up steam.

There are so many problems with what the NFL players are doing, but it really starts with the fact that their “platform” seems to be built upon a wet paper towel. While many of the kneeling players and their supporters claim that their protests have nothing to do with dishonoring the flag or all those who have fought and died for the country, their reasoning is faulty at best.

When asked to defend the actions of his very first protest, Kaepernick had this to say following a preseason game in 2016:

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color.”

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick

Are you kidding me? It’s right there in black and white — no pun intended. How anyone can not interpret this as an unpatriotic gesture is beyond me. Refusing to “show pride” in America’s flag is the epitome of being unpatriotic.

Does our country have problems? Of course it does. That doesn’t mean you can’t be proud of it. Spend a year in almost any other country in the world — even the most civilized of them — and you’ll learn to appreciate the greatness of this country, flaws and all.

Go ahead and protest the perceived injustices you are clamoring about in almost any other situation in your life. But don’t do it during the National Anthem. To disrespect the flag, to be a hypocrite and use your First Amendment right — a right that was granted to you by this great country, secured by those who fought and died under that flag you so disdain — is an act of a spoiled, entitled juvenile.

The NFL has been a model for every other major professional sports league in America. The way they conduct business and make it a profitable organization, put forth an entertaining, must-see product, all the while growing its fan base worldwide is something to be emulated.

However, in this one specific area, Goodell and the NFL owners had an opportunity to take a page out of the NBA’s rule book when it comes to the National Anthem.

The NBA’s official rule reads as follows:

“Players, coaches and trainers are to stand and line up in a dignified posture along the sidelines or on the foul line during the playing of the National Anthem.”

NBA’s Rule Book

The NBA has a right to do that. It is not stifling free speech. It is a rule for a private organization. The NFL refused to make such a rule, and it is my belief that Goodell is trying to save face in the midst of all the heat he has taken in recent years over the NFL’s policies on suspensions and enforcement of in-game rules.

The NFL will continue to trot out spoiled brats who don’t understand what a privilege it is to be a millionaire living in America, and it’ll remain that way until the NFL — specifically Roger Goodell — decides to drop the iron fist and regain control of the inmates in the asylum.