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|The controversy over NFL players protesting during the national anthem isn’t going away Authentic Sidney Crosby Jersey , despite – or perhaps because of – team owners’ efforts to stop players from using the forum to speak out on political causes.
The league’s attempt to turn responsibility for disciplining protesters over to individual teams backfired Thursday when the Miami Dolphins tried to categorize raising a fist or kneeling during the anthem as ”conduct detrimental to the club.” That gave them the right to punish a player with a fine or up to a four-game suspension – one game more than Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston got when he was accused of groping an Uber driver.
Hours after The Associated Press reported on Miami’s rules, the NFL and the players union issued a joint statement saying they were putting any anthem conduct policy on hold to see if they could come up with a compromise. But the owners aren’t left with many good ways to defuse the controversy – especially with President Donald Trump fanning the flames by subtweeting Commissioner Roger Goodell on Friday: ”The $40,000,000 Commissioner must now make a stand.”
Here’s a look at some of the options:
LEAVE IT TO THE TEAMS
The Plan: The league’s solution, which the NFL Players Association challenged, was to allow each team to determine whether to punish its own players for protesting during the anthem. The policy adopted in May subjected clubs to fines and required players to stand if they are on the field during ”The Star-Spangled Banner,” though players could choose to stay in the locker room.
This would have given hard-line owners in conservative regions a chance to clamp down while allowing teams in more liberal areas to let their players speak more freely. (Trump called for a season-long suspension for a second violation, a penalty that would violate the collective bargaining agreement.)
But the league quickly backed off after the Dolphins’ rules leaked.
The Winners: None. With players punished in some cities and protesting freely in others, there would always be plenty to complain about for those inclined to do so. And everyone seems inclined to do so these days.
The Losers: NFL owners. Any punishment would be destined to divide the locker room and the fandom; should a team actually suspend a significant contributor, it would only be hurting itself. And the guarantee of unequal treatment between and within teams would surely keep the issue in the news for yet another season.
GO BACK TO THE OLD WAY
The Plan: Ask players to stand at attention during the national anthem, and hope they do.
The Winners: Players Thurman Thomas Jersey , who would retain the ability to call attention to causes they believe in, namely racial inequality and police brutality . And Trump, who gets applause any time he attacks the protesting players as he stumps for Republicans in the November midterm elections.
The Losers: NFL owners, or at least those like Houston’s Bob McNair who have chafed at the notion of the ”inmates running the prison.” They would lose control and remain a subject of Trump’s ridicule.
KEEP PLAYERS IN THE LOCKER ROOM DURING THE ANTHEM
The Plan: Players can’t protest during the anthem if they aren’t on the field during the anthem. Or so the theory goes. But the demonstrations were never about the anthem itself. They started as a way for 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to protest racial inequality and expanded into a leaguewide us-vs.-them after Trump hollered at one rally: “Get that son of a bitch off the field.”
The Winners: Fans who were triggered by the sight of players kneeling during the song. And players, who could surely find another forum for their protests.
The Losers: NFL owners. The president has already said this isn’t patriotic enough for him, so there’s little hope of him easing up on his criticism. And it would cost them the connection to the flag and country they have worked hard to cultivate.
The Plan: Other sports worked with their players so that they didn’t have to protest to be heard. Maybe the owners make a donation to the players’ pet projects, play a video on the scoreboard, or otherwise give them a forum for their concerns.
The Winners: Players. It’s not about the protest, it’s about the cause.
The Losers: NFL owners. Even if they could stomach the loss of control, the political intrusion on the sport is bound to alienate some fans.
STOP PLAYING THE ANTHEM BEFORE GAMES
The Plan: Join almost every other country in the world and skip the forced display of patriotism that demands players stand at attention while fans check their phones, finish their hot dogs or visit the bathroom. If teams want to honor the military or local first-responders Authentic Customized Jaguars Jerseys , let them do so – free from marketing deals.
The Winners: Fans who don’t consider the anthem an integral part of the sports experience, giving them another 90 seconds to spend in game-day traffic without missing anything.
The Losers. NFL owners. Concessionaires. And a whole generation of American Idol also-rans.
EDITORS NOTE: Jimmy Golen covers sports and the law for The Associated Press.
J.T. Realmuto had another big game before another small crowd, which probably didn’t help his cause much in the All-Star voting.
The Marlins‘ catcher homered in the fifth and singled to spark a game-winning rally as the Marlins beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 in 10 innings Monday.
Realmuto has 11 home runs and is batting .311 but ranks a distant fifth in NL All-Star fan voting.
”He’s a great player,” manager Don Mattingly said before the game. ”People just don’t know it yet.”
There weren’t many at Marlins Park to spread the word. Attendance was 6,004.
Brian Anderson walked against Ryne Stanek (1-2) to start the 10th and took third on Realmuto’s single. Yadiel Rivera followed with an RBI infield single.
Realmuto, hoping for his first All-Star appearance, said he has no hard feelings regarding the voting.
”We don’t have as many fans as other teams have,” he said. ”That’s how the fan vote goes. All I can do is go out there and play and let my numbers do the talking for me.”
The Rays lost for only the second time in 10 games, and allowed more than two runs for the first time in seven games, ending a franchise-record streak. Tampa Bay has lost 21 one-run games, most in the majors.
Realmuto’s solo homer put Miami ahead 2-1. The Rays’ C.J. Cron tied the game in the ninth with a two-out RBI double against closer Kyle Barraclough Womens Samuel Girard Jersey , who hadn’t given up a run since May 8 .
Miami had runners at the corners in the 10th with none out when Rivera pulled a one-hopper up the line . Third baseman Matt Duffy backhanded the ball and double-clutched in foul territory before making a wild throw home, with the play ruled a hit.
”I tried to make a desperation play,” Duffy said. ”I didn’t get a grip and tried to rush the transfer.”
Rivera, a reserve batting .198, entered the game in the ninth as a defensive replacement and came through with his second walk-off hit this season.
”We go home happy,” he said. ”That’s the best part.”
Miami second baseman Starlin Castro tied a career high with four hits but also committed an error that led to an unearned run. Miguel Rojas had three hits, including a two-out RBI double in the second.
The Marlins’ Wei-Yin Chen allowed one run in six innings and it was unearned, lowering his ERA to 5.55.
”Today was a tough one,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. ”We didn’t have our best approach against Chen for whatever reason, but you look past that and figure that we tied the game off a really good pitcher in Barraclough.”
Tampa Bay’s Nathan Eovaldi gave up two runs in six innings. Drew Rucinski (3-1) pitched a perfect 10th for Miami.
On a clear, 86-degree night Authentic Mitchell Marner Jersey , the retractable roof was open for the 17th time this year, extending the franchise record. Marlins owner Derek Jeter watched from the second row and had plenty of elbow room.
BREAKTHROUGH AGAINST BARRACLOUGH
The Rays trailed 2-1 to start the ninth but rallied against Barraclough, who entered the game with a streak of 20 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings.
Daniel Robertson led off with a single, and following a flyout and a forceout, Jake Bauers slid home from first on Cron’s double, barely beating the throw from left field.
Marlins RHP Drew Steckenrider was hit in the lower right leg by Cron’s comebacker in the seventh but stayed in the game and pitched a scoreless inning, and said afterward he was fine.
RHP Trevor Richards (2-5, 5.06) is expected to start Tuesday for the Marlins against LHP Brian Yarbrough (7-4, 3.76).
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