NFL’s National Anthem Policy Exposes Free Speech Hypocrisy of Right, Left, and Trump “You have to stand proudly for the national anthem,” Trump says, “or you shouldn’t be playing.”

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Donald Trump, who won the presidency in part by promising voters he would stand against the oppression of political correctness, is now taking a victory lap after successfully pressuring the National Football League to protect the delicate feelings of its snowflake audience.

The NFL announced yesterday that all players on the field during the singing of the national anthem would be forbidden to kneel, sit, or show any disrespect whatsoever. Teams that allow players to publicly protest racism and police brutality will be subject to fines. Players will be expected to confine their dissent to the locker room, concealing it from easily offended consumers of sports entertainment. GOP spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany summarized the new policy thusly during an appearance on Kennedy last night:

Players will respect our military, they will respect what our flag stands for and the unity of what our national anthem stands for, and if they don’t want to respect it, they can take a hike and go to the locker room. Now everyone has to respect our military, including multimillion-dollar football players.

The new policy is undoubtedly crafted to appease not just some viewers but Trump, who has repeatedly attacked the NFL for failing to punish the defiant players. “I don’t think people should be staying in locker rooms, but still, I think it’s good,” Trump said on Fox and Friends this morning. “You have to stand proudly for the national anthem, or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there, maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.” Vice President Mike Pence tweeted the news, adding a single remark: “#WINNING.”

Sadly, the NFL’s bowing to Trump’s whims may indeed be a win of sorts for this administration. It will please the many conservatives who routinely complain that the campus left is hypersensitive but embrace the victim role when the shoe is on the other foot. Just take a look at the Twitter feed of Turning Points USA Director Charlie Kirk, a well-known critic of political correctness on campus.

Kirk’s pinned tweet is video footage of him discussing campus culture with Sean Hannity, Eric Trump, and Donald Trump Jr. “College campuses have become a place where the administrators and the elites want everybody to look different but think the same,” Kirk explains. “And it’s all about conformity. If you have any point of dissension from the status quo of liberal orthodoxy, you will be punished.” Just under the pinned tweet is Kirk’s most recent tweet: “Stand for the national anthem!” Talk about conformity.

The NFL is of course a private entity, and requiring players to stand for the anthem isn’t a First Amendment violation. But as National Review‘s David French points out in a terrific New York Times op-ed piece, Google, Mozilla, and Yale are all private too. Yet conservatives see nothing wrong with bemoaning these entities’ internal crackdowns on speech. Indeed, concern that social media giants like Facebook and Twitter are censoring conservatives is now a major concern for the right. There was even a panel discussion about it at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference.

Middlebury College shouldn’t sit idly by while students literally attack Charles Murray, and Twitter shouldn’t scrub all non-leftist views from its platform. They shouldn’t do those things because they have made commitments to the spirit of the First Amendment. They say free speech matters to them, and it is perfectly fair for conservatives to hold their feet to the fire when they fall short of those commitments.

But conservatives are being brazenly hypocritical when they celebrate the NFL’s decision to muzzle its players. The NFL might not have made any commitment to free expression, but its players were engaged in one of the most civil and least disruptive forms of protest imaginable. Saying that simply kneeling for the national anthem is so offensive that it must be confined to the locker room or banned outright reflects the same hypersensitivity that plagues the social justice left.

Ironically, the best defense of the NFL’s new protest ban is an argument most often put forward by leftists who defend disinvitations and shut-downs of offensive speakers on campus. I have frequently seen the following XKCD cartoon posted in response to such incidents:

PoliMath @politicalmath

Guys. The NFL ban on kneeling is absolutely awful and I hate it. It is anti free speech.
It is also 100% in line with the “showing you the door” attitude on free speech you’ve been pushing the last several years.
Please think hard about that.

The government was partly involved in the NFL case, since Trump’s displeasure was a motivating factor. But there’s little doubt the league was also trying to appease some viewers who were uncomfortable with the players’ protests. This is what comes from defending a safe-space mentality: more safe spaces, and not just on the campus quad but in football stadiums as well.

By Robby Soave/Reason

Posted by The NON-Conformist

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The Super Bowl, Brought To You By Taxpayers The National Football League is propped up by a wide range of public subsidies.

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When the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles meet Sunday for the Super Bowl, they’ll play inside the newly completed U.S. Bank Stadium near downtown Minneapolis. The $1.1 billion stadium was built with almost $500 million from state and local taxpayers, with the city paying an additional $7.5 million each year for operations and maintenance.

Taxpayers got soaked again when the National Football League (NFL) picked Minneapolis to host this year’s Super Bowl. The city had to negotiate against the NFL’s 153 pages of specifications, which include 35,000 free parking spaces within one mile of the stadium, shouldering the cost of providing police and emergency services, and priority over all other city snow removal in case of a major storm.

No matter who wins the Super Bowl, the 2017-2018 football season will be remembered for headlines about off-field issues, from how it treats concussed players to whether those players stand or kneel for the national anthem. Yet public subsidies for the sport and its annual championship game are often glossed over. That should change.

People who care about the NFL’s role in society—and taxpayers who care where their money is spent—should question the generous government support lavished on the NFL and its teams. Money that is spent on football stadiums could instead provide safer neighborhoods, better schools, improved infrastructure, or enhanced access to health care in their local communities.

The NFL and team owners often shakedown taxpayers by threatening to relocate a beloved team. By design, these threats create bidding wars between municipalities fighting over limited franchises. Faced with the threat of being remembered as the hapless losers who cost a city its beloved hometown team, mayors, city councils, governors and state legislatures all too often respond by offering lucrative “inducement payments.” That’s exactly what happened in Minnesota, where NFL commissioner Roger Goodell personally warned state lawmakers in 2012 that the Vikings could skip town if the team didn’t get a new stadium.

More recently, an enormous taxpayer-funded bribe convinced the Oakland Raiders to move to Las Vegas. The city promised $750 million, paid for by a hotel room tax increase of 0.88 percent, towards an ultra-luxury $1.9 billion stadium. The Raiders’ former owner, the late Al Davis virtually wrote the NFL’s playbook on extorting money from local communities. In 1980, Davis was refused public funding to renovate the Oakland Coliseum, so he moved the Raiders to Los Angeles two years later. In 1995, Oakland coaxed the Raiders back north with $200 million in taxpayer money for stadium renovations. But in 2015, Davis’ son threatened to move the team again unless the city paid for a new stadium.

In an attempt to prevent a repeat of history, Oakland and the state of California offered the Davis family 55 acres of land adjacent to the Raiders’ current stadium to be developed as a stadium and mixed-use retail and residential property. They also offered to invest heavily in transit links to make that property development more valuable, including improvements to mass transit highways, and parking. In the end, the offer could not match the $750 million in cash offered by Las Vegas.

For two decades after the Raiders departed, the NFL held the threat of a move to Los Angeles over many cities, extracting massive subsidies. Voters in San Diego eventually rejected a 2016 ballot measure to pay $1.15 billion for a new $1.8 billion stadium with a staggering 4 percent hotel occupancy tax. In response, the Chargers announced that they were moving to LA. The City of San Diego had already paid $68 million to renovate the Chargers’ football stadium in 1997, and was spending an additional $5-7 million each year for repairs and to subsidize operating costs.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell stated, “I know [Chargers owner] Dean Spanos and his family did everything they could to try to find a viable solution in San Diego.” Forbes estimates that the Spanos Family is worth $2.4 billion, which should raise questions about whether they actually did “do everything they could.”

In Los Angeles, the Chargers will share a new home with the Los Angeles Rams, which relocated from St. Louis despite the offer of $400 million in public financing towards a $1.1 billion riverfront stadium.

Paradoxically, the NFL used threats of relocation to Los Angeles to extract millions of dollars in subsidies from taxpayers elsewhere, but the new Chargers-Rams stadium will involve no direct tax funding. However, the City of Inglewood will ultimately pay an estimated $60 million as reimbursement for the development of roadwork, utilities and public parks on the site of the new stadium. In addition, the city will also reimburse costs of security, medical services, and shuttles to off-site parking during stadium events, which are estimated at about $8 million a year.

While damage to local pride when a team leaves is salient in places like Oakland, San Diego, and St. Louis, the damage to local economies is even worse when mercenary teams stay. When the Atlanta Falcons suggested they might fly away, Atlanta not only gave them $200 million towards the cost of their $1.2 billion stadium, but also pledged an ongoing revenue stream: the proceeds of a 2.75 percent tax on hotel rooms for a full 30 years, with no cap on how much money that could be over time. The total bill is expected to be about $700 million. Public funding also accounted for $444 million of the $1.2 billion cost of the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium, and $620 million of the $720 million cost of the Indianapolis Colts’ Lucas Oil Stadium.

Subsidies often don’t end once the stadium is built. Over the past decade, local taxpayers paid $263 million towards the $388 million renovation of the Kansas City Chiefs Arrowhead Stadium and $30 million towards $125 million in renovations and upgrades at the Brown’s FirstEnergy Stadium, plus an additional $47 million for 10 years of repairs and upkeep. In 2013, the Carolina Panthers’ Bank of America Stadium received $87 million of taxpayer subsidies to renovate. In exchange for that gift, the Panthers agreed to be “tethered” to Charlotte for 10 years, with a 6 year “hard tether” involving harsh financial penalties if the team moved sooner. No surprise, with that hard tether expiring in 2019, the NFL has already started the conversation around the Panthers’ next home.

Cincinnati stands out as a particularly stark example of the ongoing costs of taxpayer-funded stadiums. In 2000, Hamilton County paid $425 million of the $450 million cost for the Bengals’ Paul Brown Stadium. The County has since paid an additional $168 million towards maintenance and operating costs. The team doesn’t even pay for utilities. A clause in the stadium contract promises that if 14 other NFL stadiums have a particular feature—like luxury box seats, or a holographic scoreboard—Hamilton County taxpayers must pay for Paul Brown Stadium to have the same amenity.

The stadium deal has been a financial disaster for the county. In 2011, 16.4 percent of Hamilton County’s expenditures were related to the Bengals’ stadium. That is money that could have been spent on police, schools, roads, hospitals, parks, trash collection, and other city services. Inevitably, the Bengals have already started talking about leaving Cincinnati when their stadium lease ends in 2026.

Glendale, Arizona, finds itself in a similar bind. Local taxpayers paid $308 million towards the $455 million cost of The University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals. Today, 40 percent of the city’s budget goes towards retiring stadium debt. Glendale, meanwhile, has trouble hiring police officers and EMTs.

When cities borrow to build stadiums, the interest on those municipal bonds is deductible on investor’s federal income taxes. What is intended as a federal subsidy for local development of long-term infrastructure instead becomes a massive taxpayer gift for team owners. A study from the Brookings Institution showed that since 1990, tax-free municipal bonds have funded 36 NFL stadiums, costing federal taxpayers $1.1 billion, and that federal taxpayers spent a further 2.1 billion to subsidize tax-free municipal bond issuances for other professional sports stadiums.

Outrage over this is a growing bipartisan issue. Republicans and Democrats alike should be disgusted by this corporate welfare that diverts tax money from needed services and taxpayers. In 2017, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) introduced a bill to remove the municipal bond interest deduction for professional sports stadiums; this measure was part of initial GOP tax reform proposals, but was not included in the final law.

One common justification given for the public financing of stadiums is that they create jobs. Construction and food service workers unions claimed that the new Las Vegas stadium would create 25,000 temporary construction jobs and 14,000 permanent service jobs in the Las Vegas area.

But decades of academic studies consistently find no discernible positive relationship between sports facilities and local economic development, income growth, or job creation. In a 2006 survey of economists by Robert Whaples, 85 percent of economists polled agreed that public funding for professional sports stadiums was a bad idea. In their paper, Sports, Jobs, and Taxes, Stanford University economics professor Roger Noll and Smith College economics professor Andrew Zimbalist find miniscule or negative economic benefits for every stadium they studied. The late University of Maryland Baltimore County economics professor Dennis Coates co-authored a paper with West Virginia University economics professor Brad Humphreys examining every city with an NFL, NHL NBA, MLB, or MLS franchise and found no positive impact on any area’s economic economy, and actually found harm to the per-capita income of many cities.

NFL owners have far too much power over their local communities, and the primary cause is clear. Since the NFL merged with the American Football League in 1966, the NFL has had federal permission to flaunt anti-trust laws that apply to almost every other industry. Like any other cartel, the NFL maximizes profits by keeping the number of franchises artificially low. With fewer franchises than there are major cities in the US, the NFL can force cities and states into a never-ending cycle of moving and threatening to move, and profit off the response.

By David Back & Brandon Kirsch/Reason
Posted by The NON-Conformist

Colin Kaepernick a finalist for ‘TIME’ Person of Year

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XXX IMG_2017_8_29_KAEPERNICK_1_1_0SJFJKT8.JPG

Image: Kelley L Cox, USA TODAY Sports

Free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick was announced Monday as one of 10 candidates for TIME’s Person of the Year for 2017.

Kaepernick, who last played for the San Francisco 49ers in 2016, joins President Donald Trump, special counsel Robert Mueller and the #MeToo movement, among others, on the short list for recognition. Each year, the magazine strives to identify “the person or group of people who most influenced the news during the past year, for better or for worse.”

Trump was recognized by the magazine in 2016, and German chancellor Angela Merkel was its 2015 recipient. TIME will announce its latest “Person of the Year” on Wednesday.

Kaepernick was the first NFL player to take a knee during the national anthem last year, describing it as a means of protesting police brutality and racial inequality in the United States. He became a free agent in March and has yet to sign with an NFL team this season, prompting him to file a collusion grievance against NFL owners.

More from USA Today

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NFL, Players Coalition reach accord to provide nearly $90 million to aid activism; anthem protests unresolved

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Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins (27) is a leader of a group of NFL players discussing a deal with the league regarding its support of player activism. (Matt Rourke/Associated Press)

NFL player representatives and league officials reached an agreement Wednesday night for the league to provide financial support to players’ community-activism endeavors, according to a person familiar with the deliberations.

The tentative agreement does not directly address the ongoing protests by players during the national anthem, multiple people familiar close to the situation said earlier in the evening.

Owners have been hopeful that an agreement with the players on activism would lead all players to voluntarily stand for the anthem. But divisions on the players’ side that became evident earlier Wednesday could lead to the protests continuing even with the deal in place.

The tentative agreement is subject to approval by NFL owners. The owners are scheduled to meet in December in Dallas but might not take up the issue until the annual league meeting in March.

The league and teams are to provide approximately $90 million between the onset of the arrangement and 2023 to social causes deemed important by the players, focused in particular on African American communities, a person familiar with the talks confirmed earlier Wednesday. The terms of the league’s proposal were first reported Wednesday morning by ESPN.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has been active in the discussions and has been dealing directly with players, especially those in a group known as the Players Coalition led by Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and former NFL wide receiver Anquan Boldin. Earlier Wednesday, San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid and Miami Dolphins safety Michael Thomas announced they were withdrawing from the Players Coalition, citing differences with Jenkins and Boldin about how discussions with the league were proceeding.

Reid is closely associated with former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who began the protest movement last season. Kaepernick refused to stand for the anthem before games to protest the treatment of African Americans by police in the United States.

Reid joined Kaepernick in those protests and is among the players who have continued to protest during the anthem this season, drawing harsh criticism by President Trump and some fans. The defections of Reid and Thomas from the group of players dealing with the league seem to greatly reduce or eliminate the chances that the agreement will end the players’ protests entirely.

Representatives of the players met with owners and NFL leaders in October at the NFL’s offices in New York. The owners then held their regularly scheduled fall meeting and left without enacting a rule requiring players to stand for the anthem.

Goodell and owners said then that they want players to stand for the anthem. But they said that most owners were not ready to take action to require it. Goodell and the owners said they were focused instead on their discussions with the players about activism. They cautioned, however, that there was no explicit or implied agreement that league support of players’ activism necessarily would lead to all players standing for the anthem.

Some owners believe that, if the protests last through season’s end, owners will act during the offseason to revert next season to the league’s pre-2009 policy of players remaining in the locker room before games until after the anthem is played, according to multiple people close to the situation.

By Mark Maske/WashingtonPost

Posted by The NON-Conformist

 

The NFL Wants to Block Tax Reform Because It Would End a Common Stadium Subsidy Cities have issued more than $13 billion in untaxed bonds for stadium projects since 2000, and the NFL wants to keep the cronyism flowing.

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The tax reform bill unveiled this week by House Republicans would do away with the federal tax exemption for municipal bonds, commonly claimed by states and cities to subsidize the construction of stadiums.

The National Football League is gearing up big time to lobby against it, The Wall Street Journal reported this week.

Municipal bonds were made tax exempt in 1986 as a way to encourage investors to buy them at lower interest rates, saving cities money when they need to build new infrastructure or make expensive repairs. While the bonds are designed for building roads, sewer systems, and schools, cities have issued more than $13 billion in untaxed bonds for stadium projects since 2000, according to a recent Brookings Institute estimate.

That tax break is “an unseen subsidy,” according to Victor Matheson, a sports economist at the College of the Holy Cross, who is critical of using public money for stadiums. “It’s a tax break that we never get to vote on, and it’s one that don’t even think about and don’t see,” he told Reason in June.

There’s bipartisan support for directing the exemption specifically for public infrastructure, rather than multi-billion dollar playgrounds for multi-millionaire athletes and billionaire franchise owners. Sens. Cory Booker (D–N.J.) and James Lankford (R–Okla.) in June introduced an independent piece of legislation to prohibit local officials from using municipal bonds for stadium projects.

If that prohibition becomes law—either on its own or as part of a revamped federal tax code—those “unseen subsidies” would go away and the cost of those projects would increase. So, too, would public opposition to spending public money on stadiums.

“It’s something that the NFL will oppose because we believe that the construction of new stadiums and renovations of stadiums are economic drivers in local communities,” NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart tells the Journal‘s Andrew Beaton.

The 32 team owners who make up “the NFL” in this context are allowed to believe whatever they want, but the idea that new stadiums or renovations are economic drivers is not supported by facts. A landmark study published in 2000 by the Journal of Economic Perspectives reviewed 36 major metropolitan areas that had built stadiums for professional sports teams and found that, on the whole, they represented a drag on the economy.

More recently, a 2015 study by the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, found that “NFL stadiums do not generate significant local economic growth, and the incremental tax revenue is not sufficient to cover any significant financial contribution by the city.”

Local governments, however, continue to put taxpayers on the hook for football stadiums. In his book The King of Sports: Football’s Impact on America, Gregg Easterbrook, a journalist and longtime critic of taxpayer subsidies for the sport, says taxpayers have covered more than 70 percent of the total cost of NFL stadiums built in the past two decades.

Maybe we’re heading toward the end of that tradition. President Donald Trump, in between tweeting criticisms of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police abuse, has whacked the NFL for taking advantage of special loopholes in the tax code.

“Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country? Change tax law!” Trump tweeted in October.

Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country? Change tax law!

President Barack Obama proposed eliminating tax exemptions for municipal bonds attached to stadium projects as part of his 2015 budget plan, but Congress didn’t bite. Maybe, as part of a comprehensive tax reform bill, that component has a better chance of reaching Trump’s desk.

For decades, the NFL operated as a tax-exempt entity—insert joke here about football being a religion in much of America—because it was technically registered as a nonprofit. It got nonprofit status from the IRS during World War II, even though no one seemed to know exactly what the league’s “nonprofit mission” actually was, because (and this is true) the IRS said it had misplaced the NFL’s application and the NFL said it, too, had lost those records.

The loophole for municipal bonds is also kind of an accident, created in the 1980s when Congress voted to close a previous loophole for federal tax-exempt private revenue bonds that had been used to fund stadium projects. Local governments simply turned to tax-exempt municipal bonds instead, as Patrick Hruby of Vice Sports has pointed out.

The league voluntarily gave up its nonprofit tax status in 2015, partially because the special tax status required the league to disclose how much it was paying top executives, but mostly as a public relations maneuver.

When it comes to get subsidies for new stadiums, though, don’t expect the crony capitalist NFL give up that easily.

By Eric Boehm/Reason

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Colin Kaepernick files grievance accusing NFL teams of colluding against him

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Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who remains unemployed after a 2016 season in which he began the movement of players protesting during the national anthem, has filed a grievance accusing NFL teams of colluding to keep him out of the league, his legal representatives said.

Kaepernick retained Los Angeles-based attorney Mark J. Geragos to pursue the collusion claim and, according to a person with knowledge of the filing, it will be Kaepernick’s outside legal representation and not the NFL Players Association primarily in charge of preparing and presenting his case.

Geragos’s firm confirmed the grievance, saying it filed “only after pursuing every possible avenue with all NFL teams and their executives.”

In a statement, the law firm’ also said: “If the NFL . . . is to remain a meritocracy, then principled and peaceful political protest — which the owners themselves made great theater imitating weeks ago — should not be punished and athletes should not be denied employment based on partisan political provocation by the Executive Branch of our government. . . . Protecting all athletes from such collusive conduct is what compelled Mr. Kaepernick to file his grievance.”

 

The collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players’ union prohibits teams from conspiring to make decisions about signing a player. But the CBA also says the mere fact that a player is unsigned and evidence about the player’s qualifications to be on an NFL roster do not constitute proof of collusion.

For that reason, such cases are difficult to prove, according to legal experts.

“There has to be some evidence of an agreement between multiple teams not to sign a player,” said Gabriel Feldman, the director of the sports law program at Tulane University. “Disagreement over personnel decisions, as obvious as it may seem to someone looking at this, does not provide evidence of collusion. There has to be some evidence of an explicit or implied agreement. There has to be proof of a conspiracy.”

Kaepernick opted out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers following last season, making him a free agent eligible to sign with any team. The 49ers have said they would have released Kaepernick rather than retaining him under the terms of that deal. He has remained out of work, being passed over by other teams in favor of other quarterbacks. The Seattle Seahawks and Baltimore Ravens considered signing Kaepernick but decided against doing so.

More recently, the Tennessee Titans signed Brandon Weeden to provide depth behind backup Matt Cassel when their starting quarterback, Marcus Mariota, was hurt. That signing seemed particularly inflammatory to Kaepernick supporters who cited Kaepernick’s superior career accomplishments. Kaepernick has led the 49ers to a Super Bowl and two NFC championship games and he threw 16 touchdown passes with four interceptions for them last season.

The NFLPA issued a written statement late Sunday saying it learned of Kaepernick’s grievance through media reports and that it had learned the league previously was informed of Kaepernick’s intention to file the grievance.

“Our union has a duty to assist Mr. Kaepernick as we do all players and we will support him,” the NFLPA’s written statement said, adding that it had been in regular contact with Kaepernick’s representatives over the past year about his options and planned to schedule a call for this week with his advisers.

Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem before games last season to protest, he said, racial inequality and police mistreatment of African Americans in the United States. Those protests were taken up by other players and the controversy over them has been amplified this season even with Kaepernick out of the league.

President Trump called on NFL owners to “fire” players who protested during the anthem, referring to such a player as a “son of a bitch.” Vice President Pence walked out of a game last week between the 49ers and Colts in Indianapolis, citing players’ protests. Trump indicated that he had orchestrated that plan.

Under pressure from the White House, NFL owners are scheduled to meet Tuesday and Wednesday in New York and might seek the NFLPA’s support of a measure for players to stand for the anthem, according to multiple people familiar with the sport’s inner workings, while also pledging league support for players’ community activism efforts.

Some media members have contended since the offseason that Kaepernick was being blackballed by NFL teams based on his political stance. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and owners were asked about that contention on a number of occasions and denied that teams were acting in concert on Kaepernick because of his protests.

“Each team makes individual decisions on how they can improve their team,” Goodell at conclusion of NFL owners’ meeting in May in Chicago. “If they see an opportunity to improve their team, they do it. They evaluate players. They evaluate systems and coaches. They all make those individual decisions to try and improve their team.”

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross told reporters in July, according to the Palm Beach Post: “I would sure hope not. I know a lot’s been written about it, but you know owners and coaches — they’ll do anything it takes to win. If they think he can help them win, I’m sure — I would hope they would sign him.”

The plan for Kaepernick to pursue a grievance under the CBA was first reported by Bleacher Report.

“It may seem obvious to Colin Kaepernick,” Feldman said in a phone interview Sunday. “It may seem obvious to someone on the outside looking at this. But collusion requires an agreement [between teams]. Individual team decisions are not challengeable under the anti-collusion provision. An arbitrator is not going to second-guess an individual team’s personnel decision.”

If such evidence of collusion by NFL teams against Kaepernick exists, it has yet to revealed.

“We don’t know,” Feldman said. “Obviously everybody is talking about the baseball collusion cases from the 1980s, where there was a smoking gun. There were notes. There was strong evidence. There may be evidence here of collusion. We just don’t know.”

The NFL declined to comment Sunday through a spokesman.

“No Club, its employees or agents shall enter into any agreement, express or implied, with the NFL or any other Club, its employees or agents to restrict or limit individual Club decision-making,” the CBA says, adding that applies to “whether to negotiate or not to negotiate with any player” and “whether to offer or not to offer a Player Contract to any player,” among other things.

The CBA also says: “The failure by a Club or Clubs to negotiate, to submit Offer Sheets, or to sign contracts with Restricted Free Agents or Transition Players, or to negotiate, make offers, or sign contracts for the playing services of such players or Unrestricted Free Agents, shall not, by itself or in combination only with evidence about the playing skills of the player(s) not receiving any such offer or contract, satisfy the burden of proof set forth … above.”

By Mark Maske/WashingtonPost

Posted by The NON-Conformist

President Trump rips NFL for getting ‘tax breaks’ while disrespecting anthem, flag

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Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country? Change tax law!

More from CBS Sports.com

Posted by Libergirl

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