NFL Owners Tried To Make Trump Happy. Instead, They Signed Up For More Bullying.

In Misleading Information, States, Violence and Hate On
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Two weeks ago, the NFL tried to pacify President Trump by instituting a slapdash new national anthem policy. It was such a bad and overt capitulation that many of the same owners who supposedly voted for it started backpedaling like cornerbacks the minute they were asked to explain themselves. But, hey, it was worth the awkwardness and second-guessing as long as they mollified their antagonist in chief.

They plugged a leak with chewing gym and expected long-term stability. There. All fixed. Back to talking about football. The ploy included a policy statement that used the phrase “show respect for the flag and the anthem” four times, a nod to Trump’s deceitful oversimplification of the demonstrations to paint the players as anti-military.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell thought it would be foolproof chicanery: Appease the players by allowing them to stay in the locker room during the anthem, but ban demonstrations on the field. The decision was criticized as gutless, shortsighted and nonsensical, but at least Trump could claim victory and leave the league alone.

And in the days since this kowtowing, Trump has celebrated, as expected. He hasn’t given the league a break, however. If anything, the league’s yielding has only emboldened him. The NFL owners sought mercy, those foolish weaklings. But for this president, there is little to be gained by relenting and acting merciful. This is a winning issue for Trump, and considering how badly the league has botched its part, it can only lose from now on, no matter what it does. So whenever Trump needs to energize his base or create a distraction, he can torment the NFL. He can always lay into those disrespectful and ungrateful football players for having the nerve to try to make America care about systemic racism and police brutality.

Congratulations, NFL. You’ve become the political court jester of American sports leagues.

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