The latest developments tell a simple story; President Trump wins, NFL Caves.
League commissioner Roger Goodell held a behind-closed-door meeting Tuesday night with NFL owners, league executives and select players to talk about the national anthem protests and especially, I’m sure, the effect its having on the bottom line.
There’s been massive cancellations and refunds issued by major cable providers for ‘season ticket’ accounts, attendance and TV ratings are down to the point where it’s becoming a problem, and fan anger is becoming palpable to the point where the networks are taking care not to turn the cameras on booing and gesticulating fans, although tuning out the sound of the booing and catcalls isn’t possible. Long time NFL sponsors like Campbell’s soups are facing boycotts from angry former fans.
While there were the usual innocuous remarks on the meeting, especially from the player reps who attended, it’s obvious that Goodell and some of the owners now realize what a serious mistake they made letting their pampered employees alienate pro football’s core audience.
The day after the meeting, Pittsburgh Steeler center Maurkice Pouncey announced that the entire team will stand respectfully for the national anthem this Sunday.
After facing backlash about standing in the tunnel during the national anthem last Sunday, Pouncey says the team will stand for the anthem.
“I promise you one thing, this week we will all be standing out there for the national anthem. Trust me,” Pouncey said. This comes after the entire team stayed in the tunnel when the national anthem was played. And after the one Steeler who did come out and stand respectfully for flag and country, former Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva was viciously attacked by the Steeler’s black head coach Mike Tomlin.
The Green Bay Packers tried to have it both ways, standing for the anthem and linking arms, a gesture used before by teams like the Patriots to show ‘solidarity’ with the black players protesting. The Packers also tried to get their fans to link arms and made the expected remarks about unity, but for the most part that was a dismal failure, as even ESPN admitted:
Their opponents, the Chicago Bears tried the same linked arms tactic.It didn’t go over much better.
The Dallas Cowboys are rumored to be the next team to stand for the anthem, although whether they’ll do the linked arms choreography remains to be seen.
After what’s already happened, I have my doubts most of the fans are going to put up with half measures. I’m not even sure reversing course and having players respect the flag and the national anthem can turn things around at this point, but we’ll see.
At any rate, it appears that once again, President Trump has a lot better grasp on how his fellow Americans think than people who supposedly get paid to know this sort of thing.
Or to use the short version, Trump wins, NFL caves.
Rob Miller writes for Joshuapundit. His articles have appeared in The Jerusalem Post, The Washington Examiner, American Thinker, The Los Angeles Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The San Francisco Chronicle, Real Clear Politics, The Times Of Israel, Breitbart.Com and other publications.