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Sports writers hate leaked NFL anthem punishment proposal

National media goes crazy over idea of a 15-yard penalty for anthem protests, but once again fails to tell the whole story.



NFL and national anthem protests have been a hot-button issue in the sports media world and the general culture as well. But, for the league it is an issue that is likely affecting its bottom line and spot as the No. 1 sport in America.

Heading in to 2018, the league owners have apparently been racking their brains in an attempt to solve the issue surrounding players protesting during the national anthem just prior to games.

Now, on Tuesday, Albert Breer of The MMBQ points out that there was a proposal to deal with protests by assessing a 15-yard penalty to start the game off. That is if the teams even come out on the field….

Breer would later go on to point out that this proposal wasn’t concrete and just came out of a three-hour session on the topic of the protests and politics in the games in the NFL in general.

It is also the third time since last October that the league owners have had this topic on the agenda at their meetings. Not surprisingly, this idea nor any other apparently has gained much real traction according to reports.

But, this one sourced report got the rest of the sports media world in to a tizzy to say the least.

There was outrage at ESPN (which will come in handy later on in this article):

Pat Forde, a Yahoo Sports columnist who covers college football almost exclusively, chimed in:

Then there was fellow collegiate football columnist, Gary Parrish over at CBS:

We even got on-again, off-again WFAN personality Mike Francesa in on the mix:

At least some in the media took this chance for some good satirical humor:

What the Sports Media is Missing?

In this case, it appears there’s a severe lack of context to this reporting by Breer and absolutely zero follow up by the reporter. But, there was no shortage of outrage and click-bait headlines suggesting the NFL was seriously considering the proposal.

That’s not at all what I took away from Breer’s original tweet though. All that was being reported was one of what appears to be many different ideas being discussed about the national anthem protests.

Where’s the reporting by Breer on the other ideas or suggestions made? Maybe it was the only proposal that Breer’s sourcing could uncover, which in and of itself should raise plenty of red flags.

At that point, it should be clear that someone with an agenda wanted that single proposal out there to influence public opinion. But, what was that agenda exactly?

Was it someone in support of the idea and floating it to the public to see if there was support? Was it someone leaking because they don’t agree with any punishment for anthem protests and wanted to publicly shame those who were on the other side?

We have no idea the motive behind the leak, instead we are all left to believe that this is the only concrete proposal on the table. I mean, what else would a reader take away from headlines like the following from Sports Illustrated (where Breer works).

NFL Anthem Rule Proposals: Penalty for kneeling

What is even worse is that those national media members (including a colleague of the reports at ESPN) completely ignored any other reporting on the proposals. Not a single one of them bothered to mention the reporting of Kevin Seifert and Dan Graziano of ESPN.

In that report, the two writers note a number of proposals the NFL is considering…the information Breer either didn’t have or didn’t care to report. Here are the proposals as ESPN reports them:

  • Allow each team to implement its own policy
  • Clear the field of all football personnel while the anthem is played
  • Instruct players who don’t want to stand to remain in the locker room while the anthem is played
  • Impose penalties on teams and players who do not stand, including a 15-yard penalty and/or fines
  • Add contract language that requires players to stand
  • Leave the current policy in place

Yet, did you hear or see any of the national media so outraged by Breer’s reporting putting any context to their own tweets?

Not a single other article that mentions Breer’s reporting also mentions what ESPN had to say, because why wait for more information when the outrage fits a narrative of support for the national anthem protests?

All it takes is a look at their Twitter timelines and you won’t see a single follow-up tweet or link to the ESPN article or anything. It’s all “outrage” and no context. In a case like this, context really matters.

What Does it All Mean?

Once again, narrative and not truth matters. Why else would these writers ignore the rest of the possibilities reported and just go crazy over one tweeted out proposal?

However, what you’ll notice as a difference between myself and others in the media…I actually have more to say than “you’re dumb” or “the racist NFL” or whatever negative comments have since come out. In fact, I may just have a concrete proposal to the so-called problem of anthem protests for the league.

Here’s a simple solution for the NFL — go back to 2008 and we’ll all be better off for it.

How quickly people for get that prior to 2009 the teams almost never were on the field for the national anthem. About the only times that would be commonplace were the Super Bowl and in the months following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Individual teams may have had their own traditions, with some deciding to be on the field all the time following 9/11. But, prior to that event changing things in this country as a whole, I don’t remember a time when the players were on the field during the national anthem. In fact, most of my childhood attendance at Lambeau Field included the national anthem and then player introductions in to the kickoff of the game.

Going back to that sounds like one very simple solution to all of this except one party involved…those wanting to use their work as a platform to make political protests.

But, this is also what you get when you try to drape yourself in the flag for the almighty dollar as well. Let’s not pretend the NFL finally found its patriotism badge in the closet just prior to the 2009 season. They found it because the Armed Forces were paying teams in the league for patriotic displays and for appearances of soldiers on the field during NFL games.

To be fair, the reporting indicates it was only 14 of the 32 teams that took money, but that is beside the larger point here.

The larger point is that the league has a PR nightmare on its hands and it is all of its own doing. That’s what happens when you have no clear policy in place, no confidence in the leader at the top of your organization and said leader that tries to walk the line and ends up ticking off everyone in the process.

As a result, ownership seems more divided than ever before and the commissioner can’t wrangle them up in to one solid voice because he has no respect from a large group of the owners.

My solution gives the NFL exactly what it is so desperately trying to do — stop the exodus of fans who can’t and don’t want to put up with the mix of politics and sports while they are watching their teams playing their favorite game.

The only people who may not be happy about it are the players who are trying to make political statements prior to kickoff.

Tough luck, and a simple message of “do this on your own time and not on company time” should get the point across.

It should be a message that the fans can certainly relate to, because most fans don’t have the luxury of making their workplace a platform for their personal political or moral beliefs on the company dime.

The sooner the games get back to being about the football on the field and not the kneeling on the sidelines before the first whistle, the sooner the NFL stops hemorrhaging fans.

We’ll see if they care or if the sports media cares enough to report the entire context of these types of conversations in the future.



Veteran of the Digital Sports Media world, with work featured on Fox Sports, ESPNU and other outlets. Previously employed at Bleacher Report, The Comeback and FanSided. Consumer of sports media and member of it since 2011, you can find me still beating the drum of independence and truth in sports coverage.


Nick Bosa in trouble with sports writers for having the wrong opinions



The Social Justice Sports Warrior has struck again. This time, the offender is potential top NFL draft pick Nick Bosa.

His crime? He had three old “takes” surface from his Twitter account after he went through and deleted them.

Those three takes? Apparently he didn’t care for Black Panther, believed Beyoncé’s music was “trash” and that Colin Kaepernick was a “clown.”

But even worse, he had the audacity to support Donald Trump and more conservative-leaning commentators as well.

Immediately the SJSW’s sprung to action, because those opinions are wrong and they can’t stand. In fact, Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman took action long before Bosa deleted the tweets.

How dare Nick Bosa have an opinion and express it via Twitter!

Does anyone else see the hypocrisy in the SJSW’s here? Most literally make a living off of stating opinions on Twitter and in front of whatever camera they can get in front of.

Should they be shamed and publicly flogged for anything that steps out of the SJSW orthodoxy? Well, look at what happens to Jason Whitlock on a regular basis.

This self-important group of writers and talking heads won’t stand for someone else speaking their opinion? How strange and hypocritical of them.

There’s a difference between debating the merits of what someone said and the public shaming of someone for daring to have a different opinion than yours.

It’s gotten so bad that in anticipation of the wokest city in the NFL, San Francisco, having its team draft him, Bosa found it necessary to even consider having to delete his former Tweets. He admitted to it in an ESPN interview recently.

It may be a smart move in terms of crafting an image, but this is the internet age and it isn’t going way — especially if you are one to step out of the orthodoxy.

Bosa’s opinions were so wrong to the SJSW crowd that deleting them is a crime too.

So, the lesson here is to not step out of the bounds of thought that the SJSW’s deem okay or they will pounce. You must think, act and talk like them or they will get you no matter what you do.

An apology…not good enough.

Deleting the “offending” tweets? You’re just hiding that you’re a racist.

Literally, there is no path to redemption if you step out of the thought spectrum of today’s sports writers and opinion makers.

Let this be a lesson to everyone. EVERYTHING you say on social media can and will be used against you if you don’t agree with the mob.



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Why the sudden obsession with Julian Edelman as an NFL Hall of Famer?



Just stop it…stop it right now.

Stop the talk of Julian Edelman as an NFL Hall of Fame player.

After last night’s Super Bowl LIII performance the glowing reviews came in and Nate Burleson told the world that Edelman just cemented his Hall of Fame career.

Edelman racked up 10 receptions for 141 yards en route to helping his team win the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in the history of the game. Tom Brady completed just 11 passes to players not name Edelman in the win too.

His performance got the attention of ESPN’s Adam Schefter too.

But, the Super Bowl MVP isn’t a Hall of Fame player, he just isn’t. Ranking 148th in receptions and in the 250’s in receiving yards is not Hall of Fame worthy.

Sure, his 115 receptions for 1,412 yards, plus five touchdowns in 18 career playoff games are amazing numbers to put up. But, are they a sign of his overall greatness or just the fact that he’s been around long enough to accumulate postseason stats few players would be able to?

The Washington Post points out that even the great Michael Irvin couldn’t put up those kind of postseason results on the stat sheet. Irvin put up 87 catches for 1,315 yards and eight touchdowns in 16 playoff games during the Cowboy’s run in the 1990’s.

Yes, the New England Patriots spread the ball around and yes there’s something to be said of longevity.

But, the Hall of Fame isn’t an award for being on the right team for the longest period of time. It’s supposed to be about individual greatness throughout a career.

If we are going to award people a bust in Canton based on a few snippets in time, then there are about 100 other players who deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.

In fact, look at some of the names who have recently been elected to the Hall of Fame from the last decade or so and I’d have serious questions about just how special making the Hall of Fame is anymore.

Kurt Warner comes immediately to mind in this discussion. He’s in and he is one of the statistically worst quarterbacks in the Hall of Fame. But, he did have some great years with the Rams and Cardinals and two Super Bowl wins seems to be the

But, I haven’t even gotten to the biggest strike against Edelman yet — his four-game suspension for taking performance enhancing drugs. Given the age we are in, getting popped for PED’s is a big no-no and should disqualify one from Hall of Fame consideration as it is.

Beyond that, let’s just consider how the NFL’s Hall of Fame has treated some of the best players of all-time in the past.

Let’s just remember, it took Jerry Kramer, arguably the greatest guard in the NFL during the 1960’s and a member of a team that won 5 NFL championships in 7 seasons, until 2018 to make it in to the Hall of Fame.

Leroy Butler, one of the most revolutionary safeties, has not sniffed the Hall of Fame. Same for names like Shannon Sharpe or Steve Tasker as wide receivers.

In fact, Tasker is perhaps the best mirror for Edelman’s career. He was the spark plug and key component to the Buffalo Bill’s AFC dynasty in the 1990’s thanks to his special teams acumen. He played a very different role than a star receiver would and his contributions in post-season play were key in getting the Bills to four straight Super Bowls.

He’s not in, neither are names like Alex Karras or Tony Boselli just to name a few.

Yet, we’re supposed to believe Edelman is in over these historic contributors to the game?

It should be difficult to get in and the regular season numbers should matter too.

Edelman has carved out a niche as a clutch player in big games, but that’s not a reason alone to put him in the Hall of Fame…at least by the standards the hall has given us to date.

Now, if you want to argue the Hall of Fame needs to change its thinking, that’s a different discussion for a different day.



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The Undefeated uses questionable polling to advance Kaepernick narrative



What is Super Bowl LIII’s prevailing narrative? No, not Tom Brady’s ageless wonder. No, not Jared Goff’s sunshine good looks. No, not the fact that the Patriots once again made it to the Super Bowl. No, not the Rams refreshing offense and new-age take on NFL football.

If we’re take The Undefeated at its word, the biggest story surrounding the Super Bowl is Colin Kaepernick…of course.

On the eve of the Super Bowl, ESPN’s bastion of woke sports takes has this as it’s main article on the site: “Kaepernick rarely speaks but still dominates every NFL conversation.”

Because of course…everything in the woke world of SJSW has to be about the king of protest and wokeness in sports today.

But, is Kaepernick really the dominant discussion in the NFL these days?

Literally, the only one’s talking about Colin Kaepernick when it comes to this Super Bowl are the folks at The Undefeated and their SJSW ilk.

The Undefeated has decided to prove their article true with a poll. That poll states 77 percent of blacks (their word, not mine) believe Kaepernick is being penalized by the NFL for his political stances. It also says 59 percent of whites (their word, not mine again) believe the same thing.

Those numbers are certainly interesting and they certainly bolster a public that has bought in to the narrative of the league blackballing him. It’s something we’d love to see come out in the lawsuit, one way or the other.

But, it is also important to understand the poll and how serious we should take it.

The rub? Naturally, the poll was done by the scientific geniuses at SurveyMonkey. To make matters a bit fuzzier, The Undefeated won’t publish a link to the poll’s findings nor how the poll was set up.

Add in the fact that we don’t have the actual question that was asked in the poll in the article and something doesn’t smell right.

If ever there’s a sign of something fishy it’s commissioning a poll and never bothering to release anything beneath the surface findings. It’s almost as if they don’t want us prodding in to their methodology or their conclusions from the poll.

However, that would just be a distraction from the narrative they want us all to believe in.

Proof of that came in NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s pre-Super Bowl press conference earlier today. The SJSW’s gathered in Atlanta just had to make it about Kaepernick, despite very little actual news happening in his ongoing lawsuit against the league.

Goodell, who is part of the named parties in the lawsuit, attempted to walk a careful line in what he would say about the matter.

“I’ve said it many times privately, publicly that our clubs are the ones that make decisions on players that they want to have on their roster,” the commissioner said Wednesday.

“They want to win, and they make those decisions individually in the best interest of their club.”

Naturally, the wokeness on Twitter came immediately and unflinchingly after Goodell’s words on the matter.

But, that’s what happens when it’s all about click-bait journalism. Instead of being able to simply present the facts and let us make a decision, they’ve hidden data that is important to make an informed decision about the matter before us.

How are we supposed to trust the numbers of a poll that they won’t even bother to even give us a sample size for, let alone the full polling data set?

We simply don’t have an answer to the question this article is supposed to be asking because The Undefeated wasn’t even honest enough to publish it’s poll.

Publishing an article that creates more questions than answers can be a good tactic…if you are creating questions about the subject of your article and not your own methodology.

But, this continues to prove why woke sports reporting can’t be trusted these days. It’s clearly narrative over journalistic integrity and transparency for the SJSW’s at The Undefeated.



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