Tags: Colin Kaepernick | Presidential History | draft | lincoln | stakeholders

NFL 2018: Will We See the Knee?

NFL 2018: Will We See the Knee?
(Dean Bertoncelj/Dreamstime)

By Tuesday, 01 May 2018 05:11 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Now that the 2018 NFL draft is over, headlines about the national anthem kneeling protests are emerging. NFL team owners recently held a private summit where they aired their grievances about the "take a knee" controversy. While the event was supposed to be private, many of the team owners’ views about the issue have been made public. Many expressed their concerns over the political impact, but little leaked about its impact on viewership or the fan base. This article discusses why owners should consider the perspective of the fans in respect to the NFL’s financial responsibilities rather than their perceived political responsibility.

When discussing the relationship between the fans, the owners, and the players, it’s important to think about this dynamic from a commercial perspective. After all, the flow of funds is what makes the NFL possible in the first place. In light of this, one must consider the responsibility that team owners have to season ticket holders. Season ticket holders have a vested interest in a team similar to how shareholders have interest in a company. While they don’t have the same rights as a shareholder, their perspective should be considered. If the league and team owners allow the "take a knee" controversy to dictate this coming season of football, season ticket holders will feel betrayed. Both in a commercial sense and that their teams have been hijacked for political posturing. I commented on this issue extensively last year, writing about the take a knee controversy as it emerged and the first season ticket holder to sue a team over fallout from the protests.

So what should season ticket holders expect this year? More controversy that devalues their season long investment? Should they expect to see more politics than football? How can someone justify investing in a sport that no longer seems interested in providing the sport as a marketable good? After all, these protests are taking place during what are essentially work hours, and the protestors are affecting the entire organization, fans, and employees alike.

One may suggest that this is the specific purpose of the protests. The impact they are having on stakeholders’ pockets is bringing attention to the issues the players are protesting. While this may be true in a strict sense, the protests are becoming counterproductive.

The flag and the national anthem are simply too divisive to be leveraged as an instrument of political dialog. Even fans who believe in the cause are noticing that the optics of the protests are coming off as less than ideal. The protests are looking like an act of spite rather than a genuine attempt to garner sympathy for social change. Sure, they may have gotten everyone’s attention, but are we any closer to solving the original issue at hand? In fact, this type of spiteful protest may turn away otherwise sympathetic parties from a cause.

That is not to say the players have no recourse to express their politics. Being the well paid and high-profile individuals that they are, they can easily create a 501(c)(3) or other institution that advocates their political positions. This strategy would be a far less divisive way to promote a message and would promote funding for research and campaigns that extend beyond the sports-sphere. Sure, a charity makes fewer front page headlines, but they are less divisive and make a longer lasting impact on society.

It seems that many of the parties involved in this "take a knee" controversy are forgetting to see the forest for the trees. The NFL is one of the cornerstones of American culture and pastimes. Football brings more people together than it pushes apart, and that is something important to remember. Sadly, the question I asked in my article mid-season last year is still relevant. "I wonder how Abraham Lincoln would view a situation like this, someone who fought for rights with the intention of making a more perfect union, while also holding our unifying symbols dear. Ultimately, while the protests may be well-intended, they are divisive against the essential unifying symbols we hold as a nation, and no ticket holder should have to financially support that."

Richard S. Bernstein, CEO of Richard S. Bernstein & Associates, Inc., West Palm Beach, Florida, is an insurance advisor for high net worth business leaders, families, businesses, municipalities, and charitable organizations. An insurance advisor to many of America’s wealthiest families, he is a writer, trusted local and national media resource and expert speaker on estate planning and health insurance. Visit his website at www.rbernstein.com. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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The flag and the national anthem are too divisive to be leveraged as political dialog. Even fans who believe in the cause are noticing that the optics of the protests are coming off as less than ideal. The protests are looking like an act of spite.
draft, lincoln, stakeholders
Tuesday, 01 May 2018 05:11 PM
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