Sometimes you really have to hand it to the NFL. When you look at a situation like the debate surrounding players protesting police brutality, systemic racism, and criminal injustice during the national anthem and you see some of the braindead things people have said about it, you begin to think that it could not be possible to come up with a worse take. Then the NFL goes full Galaxy Brain on you.
This is a monument to stupidity, but I actually hope they do it. I truly and sincerely wish they would walk directly onto this field of rakes for an entire season. I want to see a yellow flag soar into the heavens while Jordin Sparks belts out "...the bombs bursting in air..." and have someone explain to me how silently protesting literally racism is somehow more disrespectful than assigning a yardage penalty in a fucking stupid football game to their beloved national anthem. "Love of country is worth precisely 15 yards in this game between the Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets. Like Odell Beckham, Jr. pretending to be a dog and urinating on an imaginary tree."
Perhaps the best part, however, is that this will once and for all kill the spineless argument that politics do not belong in sports. An argument which claims that the National Football League should be a safe space for sports lovers, a way to get away from the rottenness of political discourse.
To that end, here is Houston Texans owner Bob McNair, who has compared NFL athletes to inmates, on the sanctity of NFL FieldTurf: “not the place for political statements.” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he wants to stop talking about this topic, hoping to "get back to football" and "stay out of politics."
So what did the geniuses running the show come up with? Let's not just get politics in the fucking rulebook, but let's do so in a way that lays bare our own politics: we're going to penalize political speech that seeks to oppose systemic racism.
This article originally appeared on VICE Sports US.