The new XFL just made its debut over the weekend, and one thing viewers did not have to stomach were social justice warrior players kneeling in protest during the Star Spangled Banner. Unlike the cowardly NFL, which in 2018 withdrew an overture to ban dishonoring protests in pregame ceremonies, the XFL brain-trust had the guts to make it very clear that kneeling will not be tolerated. Grievance mongers who entertained any ideas of doing the Kaepernick thing can take their gripes elsewhere.
Vince McMahon’s rebirth of the XFL, which had a previous and short-lived run way back in 2001, started up over the weekend, and the only controversy drawing widespread attention came when a player said the f-word in a live TV broadcast of a game.
Now the word was out that the league will make it hurt if anyone takes a knee during the anthem. The XFL’s Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer Oliver Luck said on a weekend Bloomberg Business of Sports podcast, “There’ll be consequences” for any players who defy the league’s no kneeling edict.Bloomberg reporters Eben Novy-Williams and Scott Soshnick also wrote about those Bloomberg podcast comments over the weekend:
More than three seasons after Kaepernick’s final year in the NFL, very few players are still protesting. They’re getting little or no press either. The league shelled out $90 million for players’ off-the-field social justice activities, and the NFL just ran a social justice-themed Super Bowl commercial last week. Nevertheless, the new league is starting fresh without the stench of the social justice still evident in the NFL. The XFL previously inquired if Kaepernick would entertain the idea of playing for one of its teams, but the football pariah threw water on that by saying he’d need a salary of $20 million. The highest-paid players in the XFL earn about $500,000.
“The NFL was criticized by President Donald Trump when quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem in an effort to call attention to police brutality against African Americans. McMahon’s family, meanwhile, has ties to the Trump administration. His wife, Linda, was the head of the Small Business Administration, a post she departed last year to chair a pro-Trump super PAC.”
“Kaepernick’s grievance against the NFL claims that the league is keeping him out due to his protest. But did his protest play a role in why he’s not playing in the XFL? As far as we can tell the answer is no, simply because discussions didn’t get that far.
“Luck seemed somewhat interested in having Kaepernick play in his league, but the quarterback’s salary demands were so high that there was no point in even considering him as an option.”
If Kaepernick’s salary demands had fit within the fiscal realities of this new minor football league, Heck writes, “then there would have been an interesting conversation. When Luck was announced as league commissioner, he publicly stated that players will be required to stand for the anthem.”
Luck told Bleacher Report, “We respect individual freedoms. But we will require our players to stand for the national anthem.”