🎙TFG Pod: Navigating the NFL’s Shameful New Anthem Policy

From the The Football Girl Podcast, hosted by Melissa Jacobs. Subscribe to get new episodes of the pod in your feed the second we publish – and if you like what you hear, please rate and/or review us! 

The NFL could have stood pat. Instead it stoked innumerable flames by ratifying a new anthem policy that will fine players on the sideline who don’t “respect the flag” during the anthem. On this special edition of the TFG Pod, Melissa shares her views how deeply the NFL got this wrong the NFL, and the possible.  She also discusses a recent Player’s Coalition event in Oakland rooted in criminal justice reform that inspired a particularly poignant statement from 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman.

Then Howard Bryant, ESPN the Magazine senior writer and author of the prescient new book, The Heritage: Black Athletes, a Divided America and the Politics of Patriotism, joins to offer his fiery lens on the anthem policy and what’s next. Bryant is hopeful this policy will ignite a true coalition of players but is skeptical given the union’s decades-long lack of moral backbone.

Also three NFL fans announce they are done with the league after the new anthem policy



1:30: A fun announcement about the TFG Podcast

5:30: Melissa attends a Player’s Coalition event in Oakland

7:52: Richard Sherman on why sports and politics should mix

9:10: The NFL players got royally by the new anthem policy

11:35: Melissa on the never-ending holes with the anthem policy


18:25: New policy confirms skepticism toward union + “players got played”

20:32: We’re going to find out what [the players] are made of.

23:25: Solidarity among players should have taken priority over working with NFL

25:40: Players need to find more new, creative ways to protest

28:80: Hopeful that Malcolm Jenkins will change his tactics

29:50: How to keep original messaging on target

31:45: Up to the union to create platform where player activism can be passed on

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Bryant on how the Players Coalition went wrong:

“I never thought in a labor situation as tense as the one between NFL owners and the NFLPA, I never thought the players should go into a business deal on a subject that saw one of their most prominent players denied employment”

Bryant on the NFL’s upper hand:

“This is what it’s always been, a labor issue. They are sending a message to DeMaurice Smith and the NFLPA to say come and get us. You’ve never done it before, why would you do it now.”

Bryant on why he’s not feeling hopeful:

“I’m not optimistic that the players [union] are going to take this moment because I have no evidence that they ever wanted to. I would have felt different if they had done something for Kaepernick and Reid. But they didn’t.”


The Funky Cha Cha – Arturo Sandoval | Black and Yellow – Wiz Khalifa | Fight the Power – Public Enemy | Mr. Brightside – The Killers