The NFL’s decision to implement a new policy on the national anthem this season is not likely to happen, league sources told ESPN, regardless of how many meetings and conversations take place regarding the topic.
The new policy is going to be no policy — at least for this season, sources reveal.
Too many people have too strong attitudes to reach a compromise, but an NFL official maintained Sunday morning that there is continuing dialogue on the topic since the league tries finding a way to address social justice issues.
Players commenced sitting or kneeling during the anthem in 2016 as a way of protesting racial inequality, police brutality, and other issues. The protests have become a disruptive topic of debate, and the NFL and players’ union haven’t released a statement yet whether players will be punished this season if they decide to kneel or demonstrate during the anthem.
President Donald Trump has been outspoken in his criticism against NFL players who demonstrated during the national anthem since the 2016 campaign. On Sunday, Trump said NFL ratings are likely to dwindle further if players do not stand for the anthem and if television networks do not show the pregame ceremony.
Wow, NFL first game ratings are way down over an already really bad last year comparison. Viewership declined 13%, the lowest in over a decade. If the players stood proudly for our Flag and Anthem, and it is all shown on broadcast, maybe ratings could come back? Otherwise worse!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 9, 2018
NBC ratings for the Atlanta Falcons-Philadelphia Eagles season opener Thursday faced a decline of 13 percent, but the kickoff was postponed by more than 30 minutes due to rain, pushing the broadcast later into the evening. NFL ratings were decreased for 9.7 percent overall for the 2017 regular season, despite Nielsen data revealing that the 20 of the 30 highest-rated shows on television in 2017 were football games.
The NFL implemented a new anthem policy in May, but those rules were held off temporary to allow the league and union to further discuss the issue. Only two players of the 2,880 players who were on the sidelines for preseason games this year, knelt and one sat during the anthem.