From The New Yorker’s Satire Column:
The National Football League has expanded its list of banned substances to include the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, the league confirmed on Wednesday.
Although the N.F.L. has long banned substances such as anabolic steroids and growth hormones, the First Amendment is believed to be the only right guaranteed by the Constitution to be included on the list.
This past Wednesday, the NFL instated a new policy requiring all players to stand during the national anthem before games. Players who violate the new policy will eventually be fined. This comes after Colin Kaepernick took the national headline back in 2016 when he refused to stand during the national anthem prior to an NFL game. And don’t you worry, this isn’t going to be political the way you might think. There is something more acute happening here.
If you are unfamiliar with the story, Kaepernick says his decision to kneel was to protest racial injustice. There was no shortage of both negative and positive responses. People that sympathized with Kaepernick supported him with some further protest—this included other athletes. Met with equal resistance, others voiced strongly for the termination of players who protested in a similar manner.
As a response to the new policy, many athletes have already voiced their antipathy towards it on Twitter and other social media platforms. A number of athletes have expressed that fans who are “checking their phone, drinking beers or heading off to the bathroom” during the national anthem should be “held to the same standard”. Imagine every fan violating this policy and being fined! It would be a classic “if I had a penny for every time…” moment. They would be insanely rich. Others have called the new policy just a “band aid that won’t stick”.
And there is a good amount of truth to the dissent. Paul Zahl in Grace in Practice talks about this in the first chapter:
The law, which is any form of external command, provokes the opposite reaction from the one it is intended to provoke. Instead of inciting obedience or submission, it incites rebellion.
This is not even serving as a judgment against the laws and policies. Laws are often good. They serve to keep societies in order. The governmental structures of our nation and nation’s alike create laws to retain evil and support order. The Laws of scripture also are helpful in that sense. The uppercase Law, in addition, serves as a mirror that reflects our true nature. It exposes who we really are. The only problem is that both the Law and the law have absolutely zero power to encourage any change. Zahl says “it invites illegality. It almost cries out for it.”
Only hours after the instatement of the policy, you could already feel the opposition. I don’t even think it is surprising for many of us that this is the case. Will it only be a matter of time before another player takes a knee? Probably! We just don’t like playing by the rules.
Fortunately, we aren’t the only ones that breaks the rules.