The timing of the announcement that the XFL would be returning was an interesting one. At the height of the National Anthem controversy within the NFL, the XFL made it very clear that its players will have to stand for the National Anthem, and no political protesting will be allowed while on the job.
Several years ago, former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick began to kneel during the playing of the National Anthem before NFL games. The peaceful protest was intended to bring awareness to what Kaepernick believes is an epidemic of injustice against people of color at the hands of police within the United States.
The topic has severely divided the country of the United States due to its political and patriotic affiliations. Many believe that players should stand and show respect for the anthem, and perhaps protest on their own time when they’re not at work. Add Vince McMahon to that list.
McMahon called the playing of the National Anthem before sporting events “a time-honored tradition,” and made it clear XFL players will stand for the anthem before XFL games are played. XFL CEO and commissioner Oliver Luck spoke to former Green Bay Packers linebacker AJ Hawk on The HawkCast podcast about the situation.
Oliver opened up on how strongly McMahon feels on the matter and said that players will be very well informed on the rules before games. There will be no excuse for players to break rules before they take the field:
“Vince feels strongly about that, so that will be one of those things that will differentiate us from the NFL. Remember, unlike the NFL we will not have a union when we start. There won’t be collective bargaining….we could say to a player, ‘Hey there is a clause in the contract that says I hereby agree to stand for the National Anthem.’
“Period. End of story. That won’t have to be collectively bargained. My position would be as long as a player knows beforehand that that’s part of the contract then that’s a workplace rule and we can enforce that workplace rule. If you go into a contractual situation, knowing what the workplace rules are, you’re obligated to follow those rules, otherwise, there will be consequences.”
H/T WrestleZone for the transcriptions