Two days go, Trump stated, that he'd like to see an NFL owner, when one of his players knelt during the national anthem say, "get that bastard off the field!' "Wouldn't the be great?" he added.
The NFL owners, and Roger Gooddell, immediately denounced him. Commissioner Goodwill, speaking for the league, released a statement of support for his protesters:
"The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture," Goodell said. "There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we've experienced over the last month. Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities."
"A sense of unity in our country and our culture,"? WTF? Who introduced racial politics into football games? Trump? No, he was responding to a growing to a growing phenomenon among black players who have been denouncing our country as a racist society whose cops, black and white kill innocent drug dealers. It was those players who, with the acquiescence of the NFL, brought in politics, even before Trump was president. See, e.g., Colin Kaepernick, September 12, 2016.
When even 8-year-old football players began, surely as instructed, to kneel before their Pee-Wee games to denounce America, Trump decided to say something. It's Trump who is calling for unity in our country; not the NFL.
But it's the hypocrisy and cynicism of the NFL that really galls me. How many pre-game "Honor Our Troops" ceremonies has it held over the decades, with displays of huge American flags, fly-overs, soldiers and players running onto the field together, and rousing speeches by owners of how proud they are to be Americans? As the TV ratings dropped, and their players began making the news, repeatedly, for bashing and beating up their girl friends and wives, this band of billionaires came up with the novel idea of pretending to be concerned abut woman and simultaneously adding to its fan base by insisting their players wear pink ribbons and, now, pink football shoes to show ... something. What a concern for breast cancer has to do with wife beating escapes me, but whatever.
When that display of feigned concern for women didn't bring in more viewers, the NFL, decided to abandon its original fan base and appeal to the political left, as though there's a huge untapped reservoir of would-be football fans among academia and the elite leftists on our coasts. So far, that's not working either: the LA Rams and San Diego Chargers each played seperate games in California last weekend, and combined to produce "embarrassingly low" attendance figures.
The NFL is desperately trying to have it both ways: appealing to the patriotism of its original redneck fan base while reaching out to liberals who are ashamed of their country. They hope to send two contradictory messages simultaneously by staging rousing, albeit phony military shows and encouraging anti-American political statements at those same games, I'm betting that oil and water won't mix, and that this isn't going to work. And if, as threatened, entire teams refuse to stand for the national anthem today, I can guarantee that it won't. By the end of the season, the NFL won't even be able to fill the Yale Bowl
UPDATE: It occurred to me that last week, a team was penalized 15-yards when a player taunted an opponent after scoring a touchdown. So the NFL won't allow its players to taunt one another, but is perfectly okay with those same players tasting America? Says it all, I suppose.