This is a very simple issue. There is no place for employee/contractee opinions that differ from the employers’ opinions. That includes the NFL and any and every other employer in this country. When the employer is being represented by an employee, that employee is expected to uphold the best interests of the employer.
The only time that has a place is if the employee/contractor was hired for the express purpose of providing opinions within the bounds of whatever is stated in the employment agreement.
The idea that a professional sports player of any ilk ought to be able to express his or her opinion on current affairs is if the employer has requested that occur in which case I suspect the employer would’ve reserved the right of refusal if the piece didn’t represent the employer as the employer desired.
I doubt that any pro player (baseball, football, tennis, etc.) has such an agreement in place that does not mention the employers’ right to publish at the employers’ will. I doubt that “acting out” is to be found in any professional athlete’s contract as part of the job.
Maybe the pro football players that seem intent on destroying the entities that pay them egregious amounts to play a “game” have taken a hit or two too many. They were hired to quarterback, catch, block or run and not to make their personal notions known to the country while in the employ of the specific team. They have time to engage in those activities when they have retired or when they own their own team or company. Then they can suffer personally what we will heap upon them if we do not like it or believe it improper.
That this ‘issue’ has been permitted to ferment for the time it has makes me wonder about the NFL and about the team owners. I don’t think any TV network would permit the weather guy or gal to make ribald comments on open air or even on their own for so long as they are under contract. This is not ‘rocket science’; it is common sense.
If the National Anthem is going to be part of the opening ceremonies for games of any type, then the proper protocol is required.