Salk: How the NFL got the national anthem policy right and wrong

May 24, 2018, 5:00 AM
NFL players won't be required to be on the field for the national anthem in 2018. (AP)...
NFL players won't be required to be on the field for the national anthem in 2018. (AP)

I think the NFL actually did a good job developing a compromise plan with the national anthem.

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No one is truly happy with it, but that is OK. That’s what compromise is all about – and in that way (and maybe that way only) the NFL is setting a good example.

They are allowing players to protest, allowing owners some measure of control, and allowing advertisers to see that they are taking action. If handled correctly, this could have made the issue fade a little.

But they screwed up in how they reached this point. They didn’t include the players in the decision and they didn’t get key stakeholders on board. They just acted unilaterally, which is like the No. 1 problem the players have with the league.

Has anyone out there tried to manage in today’s day and age? Do you think you can still do it by simply telling people what to do? Good luck with that. For better or worse, that’s not how things go in most offices these days – and even more so with an entitled, organized group of workers like NFL players.

If this thing blows up in the NFL’s face, it will be because they didn’t work with the players, not because of the actual policy it settled upon. That was the focus of the NFL Players Association’s statement, and even Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin’s comments on Bob, Groz and Tom went immediately to the process, not the result.

Silly and avoidable mistake.

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Salk: How the NFL got the national anthem policy right and wrong