Are you awake yet? Radicalized NFL Places Restrictions On Player Religious Freedom
By Elle Reynolds
A deal reached by the National Football League and the NFL Players Association bans players from attending any indoor church services that are above 25 percent capacity, multiple sources told NBC Sports on Saturday.
Alongside its restrictions on attending worship services, the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) also prohibits players from attending indoor nightclubs and bars (except for take-out), indoor concerts, professional sports games, and indoor parties that include 15 or more people.
The deal has not been publicly released, but NBC Sports made no mention of any restrictions on attending protests. Meanwhile, the NFL’s Twitter account has been sharing and celebrating pictures of players engaging in protests around the country.
.@Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette organized a peaceful protest in Jacksonville yesterday. 🙌 (via @_fournette) pic.twitter.com/wzTSk85Dty
— NFL (@NFL) June 10, 2020
Jameis Winston joined the #BLM protests with his son. @Jaboowins (via @thecheckdown) pic.twitter.com/MYV49usl0h
— NFL (@NFL) June 25, 2020
Redskins QB Dwayne Haskins pays a visit to #BlackLivesMatter Plaza in D.C. (via @dh_simba7) pic.twitter.com/HZXRox2DxA
— NFL (@NFL) June 7, 2020
A June 5 tweet from the NFL also affirmed that “We, the NFL…encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.”
We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter. #InspireChange pic.twitter.com/ENWQP8A0sv
— NFL (@NFL) June 5, 2020
As with more typical CBAs, players can face fines if they don’t comply with the restrictions on church and the other activities listed. The fines for each offense can vary, and while they haven’t been revealed for this agreement, violating the CBA used to regulate conduct on the field can result in fines from $5,000 to over $70,000.
NBC Sports also reported that players who test positive for Covid-19 after violating the CBA won’t be paid for games they aren’t able to attend. They would also forego any future guarantees made in their contracts.
If players do violate the rules, NBC Sports speculates that teams may “rely on contacts within the community to contact the team if/when violations are witnessed,” or even use a tip line. In other words, members of the community would be encouraged to report players they see trying to attend church. Other ideas suggested by NBC include tracking players or stationing officials at “local establishments,” potentially including players’ houses of worship.