The NFL just announced that kneeling for the anthem will not be allowed this year. Somewhat lost in the coverage, and sometimes presented as a weakly related or unrelated development is the following:

“In recent months, the league has worked toward a reported $90 million social justice partnership with the Players Coalition, using the NFL’s platform to highlight players’ efforts to curb injustice and to use political connections to push for legislative change.”

Last year, I concluded a post on an analysis of the NFL anthem protests in terms of Myrdal’s concept of the American dilemma by saying:

“If we look back through recent history, we see that real change in American race relations has come when peaceful and effective protests have forced Americans to confront their core dilemma in ways that is are at once deeply personal and fundamentally public. From attending a “white” university, to sitting in the wrong seat on a bus, to the simple act of ordering lunch at a counter, to raising fists at the Olympics, to kneeling during the Anthem at a football game, people have raised the issue of race. They have offended and embarrassed, and they have gotten results.”

It sounds like the NFL has reiterated the Myrdalian injunction to not embarrass (stay in the locker room if you’re going to protest), and the players have also gotten significant but quiet concessions through their action. Myrdal would recognize the pattern. Sadly, he would also have to conclude that the dilemma is far from resolved.

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