The NFL is Playing – Right into Trump’s Hands

This past weekend, Americans tuning in to watch football were met with even more politicization of their sport than last year. In response to tweets from the President, about kneeling or locking arms during the anthem,

Players did just that, unsurprisingly.

The first instance of mass protest from NFL players took place in London before a game between the Jaguars and Ravens. These NFL protests immediately followed the protests surrounding the Confederate monuments, which, as President Trump predicted they would, morphed into generalized anti-American sentiment against Founding Fathers and Christopher Columbus.

President Trump didn’t invent the politicization of sports, nor did he popularize it; we can thank ESPN and last season’s athletes for that. President Trump merely observed how fired up his base became when players began to kneel and team owners and sports media made excuses for it as well as for clothing choices like socks depicting police officers as pigs (as the founder of the “Take a Knee” protest, Colin Kaepernick, wore at a football training camp earlier this month).

President Trump knew how upset many of his supporters are with how quickly anti-Trumpism can morph into anti-American sentiment and with how prevalent the latter has become, and thus, he played NFL players like a fiddle to encourage more kneeling during the anthem. The President wanted a wildfire, and NFL players and coaches provided the kindling.

One has to wonder if anyone in the NFL has put any thought into the optics of American football players kneeling for our anthem. If kneeling for the national anthem is the best the “Resistance” can muster as a form of protest, we may as well declare the 2020 election for President Trump right now.

With a handful of tweets, President Trump has closely associated himself with the flag and our nation’s anthem in a way he was never able to accomplish while running for President. As a candidate, Trump infamously said of heroic Senator and former P.O.W. John McCain, “I like people who weren’t captured.” Yesterday, as dozens of NFL athletes were kneeling during the anthem, many more Americans were celebrating Gold Star Mothers Day, a day set aside to honor mothers like Ghazala Khan, a Gold Star mother Trump famously spent a week gratuitously attacking during his presidential campaign.

But NFL players played into Trump’s hands. Rejecting patriotism is now en vogue for those interested in lodging their discontent with the President. As this weekend showed, Trump is skilled at creating and then riding a news cycle for his benefit; this is just the latest, and, honestly, one of the greatest examples.

Why might Trump have wanted to craft a news cycle about the culture wars this weekend? For starters, Puerto Rico, a United States territory, is literally under water, without power, and a humanitarian crisis zone after being battered by a hurricane. The island is running out of drinking water and prescription drugs, and some areas of the island may not have power restored for months. Trump may also have wanted to shift the news cycle because of the troubling acceleration of tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. Late the night before the NFL tweets, Trump tweeted this:

There are those in the media who subscribe to the theory that President Trump is playing a game of 3-D chess with his media jihads like this latest one against the NFL. There are others who think he’s merely tweeting any stray thought because he lacks mental discipline. No matter the reason he’s doing it, President Trump has a way of dividing our country at precisely the moments we need him to lead, not distract.

But he’s not the only one. The grandstanding actions of yesterday’s NFL players, coaches and owners also served to further divide our country at a time we can hardly afford it. Instead of playing along with their angry rhetoric, wouldn’t it be nice if we rejected their efforts to turn us against each other, and instead came together to do the truly important things, such as aiding our countrymen in Puerto Rico?

Image: YouTube/ABC

  • 50
  •  
  •  
  • 10
  • 50
  •  
  •  
  • 10
  •  

newsletter-signup

One response to “The NFL is Playing – Right into Trump’s Hands

  1. Vote with your remote, friends. And kick these poseurs in the NFL where it hurts the most – in the hip pocket.

Comments are closed.