The NFL has today reiterated the short list of reasons players may kneel on the sidelines, and – in a surprise to many in a country that employs the word ‘freedom’ 6.75 times more frequently than any other – calling attention to social injustice is not on it.
“After a meeting between 32 true patriots, hereafter compulsorily referred to as ‘The Great Men,’ the NFL owners have issued their updated list of reasons players may take a knee on the sidelines of the field of play:
- After having their bell rung.
- Following their clock being cleaned.
- When seeing stars.
- When not seeing anything.
- To pretend to tie their shoelaces so as to buy enough time to allow their brain to regain enough function to act normal, following a severe blow to the head.
- To pray. That items 1-5 do not happen to them.
- To smell the mandatory freedom lingering in the manicured grass at their feet.
- That’s it. There is no number 8.
- Or 9.
Reactions to the new guidelines have so far been muted, with few having an opinion on what it means when the most popular sports league in the United States would rather attempt to mute a protest, than consider its impetus.
“Oh yeah, no biggie,” said All-Pro running back Marshawn Lynch, speaking to the press after emerging from his weekly How To Not Get Shot While Being Black And Driving course, “That’s what I like about this league, always give you a minute to get back on your feet after your brain collides with your skull whilst providing lucrative entertainment for millions. I don’t mind at all if those some of those same fans’ wallets tighten up when they find out I have more to say than just ‘I’m ok coach, now get me back in the game.’ That is completely understandable.” He smiles, tightly, while thin tendrils of smoke curl slowly out of either ear.
For his part Colin Kaepernick said he hadn’t heard the news, and doesn’t think it will affect him much.
“You know. Because they won’t let me play.”
He then added that while the unspoken ban on signing him is terrible for his career, it has helped bring attention to his protest, “and is downright fantastic for my health.”