The Anthem Policy: The Anthem policy announced back in May of 2018 stated that “NFL owners have unanimously approved a new national anthem policy that requires players to stand if they are on the field during the performance but gives them the option to remain in the locker room if they prefer”. This rule was put in place to stop players from using the NFL as a platform to spread a message because what was being protested and what people were mad about were two separate things. Players and Owners do not see eye to eye on this rule and it does not help that the President continues to make things worse by getting himself involved in the situation.
Collin Kaepernick: This has been one of the biggest issues in the NFL for the past 18 months and has been the reason why the NFL and its players are so at odds with each other. Collin in 2012 lead the 49ers to the Superbowl and back to back NFC championship games in ‘12-’13. His performance was not the same over next few seasons and following the 2016 season he opted out of his contract and was no picked up by any team. During the 2016 season, Collin began to sit for the national anthem to protest the racial inequality and police brutality against people of color. This brought about a lot of controversy and eventually the conversation was turned towards respecting the flag and our anthem and less about the message that was trying to be spread. In 2017 Kaepernick filed a lawsuit against the NFL claiming owners and teams colluded to make sure he could not find a job. Ex-Teammate Eric Reid is also out of a job currently for probably the same reason as Kap.
Owners: The Owners have been making headlines more and more over the past 2 Years. Owners, who are 95%+ white males, have been causing tension and drama in locker rooms across the country with their current rhetoric and actions taken against their own players in support of their personal and political views. From owners being charged with Sexual abuse in the work place to Owners calling players “Inmates”, things have started to get a little out of hand with the NFL Owners.
Concussions & CTE: In a recent study in 2017, 111 players (dead or alive) were tested for the possibility of CTE. Of those 111 players, 110 test positive for CTE. CTE has also been linked to the rise in the rate of suicides in the NFL community with names such as Junior Seau, Tyler Hilinski, and Aaron Hernandez all hurt themselves and or others because of this disease. With our increase in awareness for mental health, many fans are turning away from a sport that they love, because they see the effects it has had on players, their families, and the NFL.
Expanded Schedules: Over the past few seasons players have come out against expanded schedules. Games are now played on Sunday, Monday, Thursday, and occasionally Saturday. The players problems lie on the fact that now they have less time to rest, especially on weeks where a team plays Sunday, then on the following Thursday. The lack of rest I feel has been detrimental to players health as we have started to see more injuries from players due to their bodies not being able to handle the quick turnarounds. To add onto that, the NFL has 4 pre-season games before the season starts that has seen some of the best talent in the game lost for the year in a game that means nothing.
If you’re interested in helping fight CTE and making Mental Health a more talked about topic in sports check out the Hilinski Hope Foundation website hilinskishope.org