In the wake of the National Anthem policies set forth by the NFL, fans wonder how it will affect their own team's players and policies.
The issues surrounding the NFL, and our National Anthem are far from resolved. In May, the league made a decision to allow teams to punish players for protesting during “The Star-Spangled Banner”, stating they must respectfully stand, or remain in the locker room until its completion.
The NFLPA then stepped in, filing a grievance regarding the altered NFL policy. Since then, The National Anthem policy has been put on hold altogether until a suitable resolution can be found.
“The NFL and NFLPA, through recent discussions, have been working on a resolution to the anthem issue. In order to allow this constructive dialogue to continue, we have come to a standstill agreement on the NFLPA’s grievance and on the NFL’s anthem policy. No new rules relating to the anthem will be issued or enforced for the next several weeks while these confidential discussions are ongoing,” the statement read. “The NFL and NFLPA reflect the great values of America, which are repeatedly demonstrated by the many players doing extraordinary work in communities across our country to promote equality, fairness and justice. Our shared focus will remain on finding a solution to the anthem issue through mutual, good faith commitments, outside of litigation.”
This came following an Associated Press report that the Miami Dolphins policies regarding such protests will be met with disciplinary actions under their “conduct detrimental to the team”. The New York Giants however, have taken an opposing stand, stating their players will not be punished.
Talks will continue and hopefully some semblance of an agreement will happen. But in the meantime, fans around the country now wonder what will happen if indeed their team's players decide to kneel for our nations flag.
While I do not agree with any act that can be construed as disrespectful to our country and to our soldiers, my own feelings are essentially irrelevant. In this great country of ours, the right to disagree is extremely relevant.
Some soldiers take great offense, while others simply shrug it off and allow that their efforts have made the protests possible. That is, afterall, why many of us enlist to begin with. Our flag should mean something to any who live within its reach. With that said, it also means that we have the right to protest.
Will the various front offices throughout the NFL also fine, or suspend players under their own conduct policies? Will they allow protests and kneel alongside their players? Do fans agree, or disagree? As simply as I can put it, yes, no, maybe, likely, absolutely not, and without a doubt. Take your pick.
Perhaps all involved should take notice of the handling of the issue in Cleveland. While the Cleveland Browns players initial protests brought familiar ridicule, their follow-up protest which included joining arms with first-responders was an acceptable, and heartfelt statement.
The origination of the protesting was afterall on the issues of police brutality and racial injustice, so what better way to make a statement than to join arms with those who signify the heart of the issues at hand. Perhaps first-responders and soldiers should play a role in resolving the league-wide debate as well.
The issue of the flag itself rings much larger than any single person, or player. There is no right, or wrong, simply a disagreement of various perspectives. You feel how you feel, and I feel how I feel. Perhaps the only sentiment that is unified, is that we can thank our troops for allowing such debates, protests, and differing feelings to be acceptable.
The debate continues on a league wide scale as well as within individual front offices. Yet for every action, it seems only more questions arise.
Where is the line between respect, disrespect, and freedom?
Does the flag still matter?
Do the issues brought forth in such protests matter?
It all certainly matters, so how do we find balance?
For many, myself included, the politics that have invaded our beloved game of football is truly disheartening. The issues facing our country are urgently important, but as far as football goes, can't we just go back to wondering what a catch is?
I say we leave the politics to the Idjits and Asshats and play some football. If you have a point to prove, don't offer disrespect while doing it. Thank a soldier - They have earned it!
Thank you for reading - Backwoods Unfiltered
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Debating the NFL's harsh stance on marijuana in comparison to their widely tolerated use of prescription opiate-based narcotics among players.
Some time ago I wrote a piece for NFL Spinzone on Marijuana and Crime in the NFL and here I go lighting up the debate once again. This debate however, is focused more so on the struggles players face with pain and prescription narcotics and the policies set forth by the NFL. Due to the nature of the topic I have decided to make this particular piece an independent publication.
My insight into the topic varies from most. Yes I have smoked marijuana, and yes, I have inhaled. Let me leave out the details on how many times and over how many years.
Additionally, I have endured many years of heavy-duty narcotics like vicodin, percocet, opana, among others. The struggle I found was fortunately not with addiction, rather the lack of its effectiveness after several years of daily use.
I found myself with two options.
In case some of you are wondering, my own issues include:
Recurring dislocations and instability in both shoulders, extreme spasms underneath and surrounding my shoulder blade, motor tremors in my hand, a pinched nerve in my neck and a plethora of spinal issues. There are others, but I think that should about cover my qualifications on the topic.
My point is that many NFL players find themselves in a relatively similar position given the wear and tear the game provides. Pain is an inevitable part of life. For me, and a great many others, marijuana offers a very legitimate alternative to highly addictive prescription meds.
I have listened to arguments both for and against marijuana usage, as well as arguments regarding the use of prescription narcotics. Some arguments hold a degree of merit, although my experiences have stabilized my own thoughts. I have yet to hear any legitimate argument however, for heavy narcotic usage over the usage of marijuana.
The simple fact is that the dangers of narcotics are extremely severe, regardless of legality. Our nation’s opioid crisis has finally brought attention to the topic, however at a grave cost to far too many.
The NFL however, seems stuck in its ways, claiming that marijuana usage is completely unacceptable, whereas narcotic abuse is widely tolerated as long as accompanied by a prescription. Even with a prescription, marijuana use absolutely outlawed. I would think the player safety campaign in effect since the concussion issues would open the doors of consideration, but to this point, pain can only be remedied with narcotics according to NFL policy.
Whether you agree with the legalization of marijuana or not, can you argue that narcotics are exponentially more dangerous?
Can you also argue the pain relieving benefits of marijuana?
I am sure a few grandparents in Colorado could add perspective. If the facts aren't proof enough then the issue you have may be seeded elsewhere. For me it is quite cut and dry.
I fully understand the need to hold players accountable. Children are fans as well and I certainly don't want my children seeing players they idolize act above the law. Yet the NFL essentially tells our children that smoking pot is worse than spousal abuse, sexual assault, cheating, and taking steriods and other performance enhancing drugs.
Every time I hear of a player being suspended four games for deflating footballs (a.k.a. cheating), or three games for inappropriately fondling an Uber driver, I can't help but wonder why sparking a joint could effectively end someone's career. Yes I know, they can indeed fail a couple urine tests before being shunned.
The problem with the NFL is that physical abuse is punishable, but tolerated. Sexual abuse is punishable, but tolerated. Cheating is punishable, but tolerated. Performance enhancing drugs are punishable, but tolerated. Yet utilizing an herb that can grow in your garden is, well, what do you think Justin Blackmon and Josh Gordon would have to say about it?
I recall statements by Brett Favre, detailing his struggles with prescription narcotics. I know there are many, many more, but Favre’s came to mind.
I have seen the classic film North Dallas Forty, wherein a young-ish Nick Nolte portrayed a player struggling with pain, and pills. There is a deep-seeded problem in the NFL that has been well-documented, and thoroughly-neglected for decades. Some may think pot is not the answer. I most certainly do, as do many NFL players.
It is hard to dispute that marijuana is as intricately woven into our society as narcotic pain medicine, and alcohol as well. Some claim pot is harmful, yet it seems the biggest problem Colorado has had since its legalization is what to do with all the money. I say we ask Willie Nelson and Tommy Chong how dangerous it is.
It is also hard to dispute that the NFL needs to take a long hard look at its policies. Why are deadly narcotics allowed to be commonplace, while marijuana, even with a prescription, is not?
You may or may not agree with my own stance on marijuana, and I certainly understand those who want no part of it. Much the same as I understand the stance of those completely against alcohol usage. We each enjoy the right to decide what we feel is best for us. Unfortunately, the players in the National Football League do not.
Thank you for reading this first-ever installment of: Backwoods Unfiltered
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