NFL Anthem Kneelers Might Be Barred From Some Teams Next Season

The 2016-2017 season will go down in history as the time when the National Football League lost its years-long stranglehold on the Americans sports consciousness. With players from nearly every team in the NFL kneeling for the national anthem, the league drew a sharp rebuke from the President of the United States and scorn from millions of loyal football fans. Ratings took a precipitous dive, attendance figures sunk, and many viewers said they would not be back until the NFL took action against the protesters.

According to Houston Chronicle columnist Jerome Solomon, at least one team may be passing over free agents who participated in the kneeling last season. Solomon said that two NFL agents told him the Houston Texans were not interested in signing players who were part of the protests. While there was no official policy in place at the Texas team, said the agents, it was understood by everyone involved that kneeling players would not find a home in Houston.

Solomon thought this was an outrage.

“If the Texans are determined to field a team without players who are concerned about their community enough to occasionally be outspoken, or to perhaps participate in a silent protest, they are risking turning away players who could help them win a Super Bowl. That would be a mistake,” he wrote. “Aside from the one serial woman-beater the Texans signed as a free agent about 10 years ago, McNair has long had a policy of bringing in so-called good guys. If the Texans have decided players who have or will participate in peaceful protests of injustice are bad guys, they will miss out on some good football players. Not to mention, some truly good guys, good citizens.

“Such a team wouldn’t deserve to win,” he concluded.

Well, agree to disagree.

In any event, the Texans quickly released a statement saying there was no truth to Solomon’s assertions.

“A recent report that suggests the Houston Texans would not sign a player who has protested in support of social justice issues is categorically false and without merit,” the team said. “The Texans ownership, coaching, personnel and executive staff sign and hire employees based on talent, character and fit within our organization.”

It’s not surprising that the team would rush to distance themselves from a controversy like this one, but perhaps they spoke too soon. While a decision like this will be roundly criticized in the left-wing press, it is exactly what many football fans are waiting for. It has nothing to do with racism, as columnists like Solomon believe. It has everything to do with showing some basic respect for the flag, the anthem, and the country. We don’t think that fans are asking for too much, and if there are NFL owners willing to meet that meager demand, they may be richly rewarded.