The Penalty Bigger than Kaepernick

The Rule That Could Break the NFL in a Way That Flag Kneeling Couldn’t

“With each questionable flag that’s thrown, die-hard NFL fans see the one thing they actually fear the most: the loss of the integrity of the game.”

What Changed?

In the off-season preceding the 2018–2019 NFL season, the league decided to increase the scope and impact of the rules protecting quarterbacks from damage sustained during sacks or immediately following the release of a pass. According to the new rule, the “unsportsmanlike conduct” offense of “roughing the passer” now includes both driving the quarterback forcefully into the ground and landing on top of the quarterback with the tackler’s full body weight.

The NFL Has Faced More Serious Issues and Survived

The Colin Kaepernick controversy regarding his decision to kneel during the playing of the national anthem before football games in protest of racial inequality by law enforcement has far-reaching social impact. At the least, it’s an important discussion that must be had and that is receiving a significant amount of attention both from supporters and from detractors. Nike’s decision to feature Kaepernick in their new advertising campaign has only stoked the flames.

The Unfortunate Truth About What Really Matters to the NFL

So how can this simple, singular rule that only applies to one situation inside a sport have a more catastrophic effect on a massive industry than an entire social movement? Because it’s football fans who watch football.

Can’t They Just Reverse It?

Perhaps even more concerning for those who want to see the sport survive is that the NFL’s current position will be difficult to reverse. They have unwisely left the rule too subjective to allow it to be effectively adjusted in a manner that will satisfy fans. Officials can reduce the number of times they make such calls and can internally scale back their sensitivity to such fouls, but the residual inconsistency will only cause more frustration for confused fans who’ll feel unable to predict what is and is not a legal tackle.

Freelance Writer/Blogger/Editor, veteran, Top Rated on Upwork, former Medium Top Writer in Humor, Feminism, Culture, Sports, NFL, etc.

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