The owner and coach of the Miami Dolphins reversed course this week and demanded that players and staff stand at attention during the playing of the national anthem; just weeks after player protests severely harmed the team’s patriotic image and financial bottom-line.
According to the Sun Sentinel, Dolphins owner Steve Ross changed his mind after three of his players “took a knee” as the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ rang-out in the stadium last week, telling his head coach to inform the players that future protests would not be tolerated.
Speaking with reporters before the game, Ross said President Trump had transformed the original intent behind the protests from players’ calls for social justice to a referendum on the league’s patriotism.
“He’s changed that whole paradigm of what protest is,” said the owner. “And I think it’s incumbent upon the players today, because of how the public is looking at it, to really stand and really salute the flag.”
“Right now [with] these kids you want understanding, that we really have to get out into the white community and have them accept the fact this isn’t about all black kids and the protest they have,” he added.
The National Football League finds itself at the center of a nationwide controversy, following weeks of player protests against the national anthem and US flag. President Trump called on all Americans to boycott the league until owners and officials crackdown on athletes who “disrespect” those who fought and died defending the US.