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NFL are 'lost' on how to deal with player protests - journalist John Gonzalez

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The NFL is 'lost' on how to approach the player protests started by Colin Kaepernick, because they are trying to please those on both sides - according to US sports journalist, John Gonzalez.

John joined Off The Ball to greet the beginning of the NFL season, and the recent political upheaval personified by Kaepernick remains visible at a time when the nations has rarely appeared more divided.

"It is this thing that is persistent now, within the NFL, where you have some guys who have decided to stay behind in the locker room rather than kneel or raise a fist; that has been their form of protest," said John.

"The NFL - it is in a situation now where they seem really lost as to how to adjudicate this, and how they want to handle it. If they want it to just go on unregulated, or if they do want to go out and penalise people. It appears that they have reversed course on their pre-season decision to fine teams.

"It is a very messy situation."

The situation regarding Kaepernick in particular has complicated matters further, as the collusion case being brought against the NFL by the former 49ers quarterback is due to be heard later this year. Kaepernick alleges that a team or teams worked in collusion with each other and potentially other outside actors to prevent him signing for a new franchise. A feeling that the league may be reticent to get into more messy legal situations prevails.

"Who knows what motivates the league office? Their position seems to be extremely capricious, where on any given day, anything could inform their position; it could be that course case, it could be [Kaepernick's] Nike ad, it could be the President tweeting something stupid. It could be push back from fans that are conservative and from the right-leaning side of politics. It could be any number of things.

"From any day, you have no idea what the league office's position on this. Part of it is that they are trying to serve two camps. They are trying to serve progressives and liberals that like football and think that this is a healthy thing - [players] voicing their distaste and displeasure with police brutality, social inequality and social injustice is a healthy thing. Then the opposite side that this is an affront to America and the troops, and citizenship.

"I think the NFL is trying to have it both ways, and by doing so they are having it no way."

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