The NFL will never have 'unity' until it does this

This week, the NFL owners will gather in New York for their annual fall meeting and discuss their self-inflicted crisis with the NFL Players Association: should the NFL require all players to stand during the pre-game recital of our national anthem?  

Regardless of the outcome of their deliberations, the NFL owners and players will undoubtedly announce that they have reached an agreement for "total unity" on this matter, a unity that has been missing since the beginning of the season through yesterday's Week 6 games.  Sunday, some players stood with arms locked; some stayed in their locker rooms until after the anthem; and some raised clenched fists or sat or knelt during the anthem.  

Even if the NFL is able to cobble together some appearance of unanimity-of-unity plan among interested NFL parties, such an agreement will have one flaw.  The fans, the financial lynchpin of the whole enterprise, have been left out.  The billionaire team owners, the multi-millionaire players, the million-dollar-plus salaried coaches, and the billion-dollar ad industry profiting from professional football are all recipients of the fans' enormous largesse.  But the insiders have selfishly left the fans out of their deliberations this week.

When the fans at the games and at home stand at attention when they hear our national song of appreciation and praise for our country and for those who defend it, they expect all NFL parties – owners, coaches, media, and players – to stand in unity with them. 

NFL unity will come when players and fans all stand together without exception.

This week, the NFL owners will gather in New York for their annual fall meeting and discuss their self-inflicted crisis with the NFL Players Association: should the NFL require all players to stand during the pre-game recital of our national anthem?  

Regardless of the outcome of their deliberations, the NFL owners and players will undoubtedly announce that they have reached an agreement for "total unity" on this matter, a unity that has been missing since the beginning of the season through yesterday's Week 6 games.  Sunday, some players stood with arms locked; some stayed in their locker rooms until after the anthem; and some raised clenched fists or sat or knelt during the anthem.  

Even if the NFL is able to cobble together some appearance of unanimity-of-unity plan among interested NFL parties, such an agreement will have one flaw.  The fans, the financial lynchpin of the whole enterprise, have been left out.  The billionaire team owners, the multi-millionaire players, the million-dollar-plus salaried coaches, and the billion-dollar ad industry profiting from professional football are all recipients of the fans' enormous largesse.  But the insiders have selfishly left the fans out of their deliberations this week.

When the fans at the games and at home stand at attention when they hear our national song of appreciation and praise for our country and for those who defend it, they expect all NFL parties – owners, coaches, media, and players – to stand in unity with them. 

NFL unity will come when players and fans all stand together without exception.