Few people involved in the NFL’s ongoing national anthem debate are as qualified to discuss the subject as former Pittsburgh Steelers halfback Rocky Bleier.
Bleier, 71, served in the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. He lost part of his right foot due to a combat injury and had to fight his way back into the NFL after returning from the battlefield.
For Bleier, a four-time Super Bowl champion, the situation is very much cut and dry, and he sees a “simple” solution to the issue that has plagued the NFL for the past 14 months.
“It’s very simply this: This is a workplace, you are at the stadium, you are working that day, this is not a platform for protest,” Bleier told Yahoo Sports. “The American people, they can’t go to their workplace and start to protest about whatever may be happening in their life. That wouldn’t be allowed and that shouldn’t be allowed in the NFL.
“It’s not a violation of the First Amendment at all. You have off days, you can do it outside of the stadium or on other platforms, but not the gameday platform. It’s a very simple question and people are making it more complex than it really is.”
While Bleier’s opinion on the subject tends to lean toward supporting the stance of team owners like Jerry Jones and fans who are openly critical of anthem protesters, he acknowledges that there is plenty of blame to go around on this issue.
“The was a lack of leadership there on the owners’ side as well as the Players Association long before to nip whatever was coming down the road after the Colin Kaepernick situation a year ago, in the bud,” Bleier said. “It should never have gotten to this point, nobody has stepped up to say ‘No, this is not what we do on gameday.’”
Yes, it really is that simple