Lost in the players versus the NFL national anthem debacle was the reason for the protest in the first place: systemic racial inequality and police brutality of minorities in America. Everyone has an opinion on what players should be doing during the anthem, even though for years those same fans have been waiting in line for beers while the national anthem plays.
Teams filing policies for anthem protest punishments is paused, but the San Francisco 49ers took a huge step toward validating the actual idea of the national anthem itself, without even mentioning player protests.
Before "The Star-Spangled Banner" plays, stadium public address announcers come over the airwaves and declare something like: "Please stand, remove your hats and honor America."
At Levi's Stadium in San Francisco, just like in stadiums around the country, that command is often times trumped for the need for a cold Bud Light or a $75 burger challenge.
That's all going to change for the 2018 season.
This season, the 49ers will stop all stadium operations, instead leading with the message, "Please pardon the interruption of service while we honor America."
The policy will go into effect during Thursday's NFL preseason game when the 49ers take on the Dallas Cowboys.
49ers team officials said of the new policy:
The move affects all general concessions and premium dining spaces at Levi's Stadium, plus the team store and other merchandise stands. It extends to all ticket holders going through security and scanning their tickets to enter the stadium and fans headed to their seats after passing through the gates.
They'll all have to wait until the anthem is completed.
The Bay Area has been the spearhead of anthem controversy over the years, starting when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first took his knee hoping to stir up social justice for the issues plaguing America.
San Francisco owner Jed York was the only NFL owner to abstain from the NFL's vote on the new anthem policy, stating players must remain in the locker room rather than kneel, which has drawn both criticism and praise.
To come to this decision, separate from the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell's autocracy, deserves praise for the 49ers entire organization.
There are obviously going to be people livid that they'll have wait to get a chili dog, or who will be running to their seat before kickoff because they showed up late.
If you disagree with this policy, that's your own fault.
For fans to chastise players for their protests, but then turn around and be upset that two minutes of service is interrupted, would be the most hypocritical statement of all-time.
This policy should be instituted league-wide, and the NFL could do itself a favor to to help repair its failing image.
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