The president poured gasoline on a firestorm of a controversy with his belligerent assertion at an Alabama political rally that the NFL players — who he termed “sons of bitches” — who take a knee during the pre-game national anthem should be fired. It’s not as though the players are attempting to spite anyone with their silent, peaceful protests; rather, they are attempting to bring attention to the plight of many African Americans in the United States.
Even still, the president doesn’t care about respecting these players’ First Amendment rights.
The NFL, with business issues to consider, has been faced with the question of what to do about the continued protests, which are creating a PR headache for the league thanks in no small part to the president’s antagonizing. Although Trump asserted in a tweet earlier this week that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was in support of the idea of forcing players to stand for the anthem, such was not the case, as the NFL promptly reminded him.
Now, there’s a revelation of not only what Goodell thinks but of what the league as a whole thinks and is planning to do in response to the protests.
In a conference call reported upon by Reuters, NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart explained that Goodell does not plan to mandate any change in policy that would “force” players to stand for the anthem while meeting with team owners next week.
‘[Goodell] has a plan that he is going to present to owners about how to use our platform to both raise awareness and make progress on issues of social justice and equality in this country. What we don’t have is a proposal that changes our policy, we don’t have something that mandates anything. That’s clear.’
As Reuters explains it, NFL leadership intends to ease away from the protests and into efforts to directly and positively impact their communities more than before on issues of equality, social justice and criminal justice reform.
As Lockhart added:
‘These are issues that are important to our clubs, issues that are important to our players, issues that are important to the communities in which we play. That’s what we are discussing.’
It does represent a concession that could infringe upon players’ right to protest for the NFL to seek to phase out the protests, but it’s not as though the concession is unsurprising.
The NFL, as a league made up of private corporate entities, needs to make money — that’s the capitalist world we live in. Like the wannabe dictator that he is, Trump has gone after them time and time again at this point, calling for his followers to boycott the league until it conforms to his wishes.
The NFL isn’t the only private entity that Trump has attacked; most notably, he has gone after the free press time and time again, insisting recently that NBC’s broadcast license should be revoked because of their supposed reporting of “fake news.” In short, in Trump’s world, he is and will always be at the top, no matter what the cost.
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