Memo From Middle America | Trump Is Winning War With NFL—And So Is America
As an Oklahoman, I can testify sports at all levels are big here in Flyover Country. They are right up there with Mom, apple pie, patriotism and respect for the military. Evangelicals are just as sports crazy as everyone else and it’s rare to find an evangelical preacher who’s not a bigtime sports fan. Churches even organize parties to view the Super Bowl which is, after all, on a Sunday.
Which is why it’s so significant that, here in Middle America, Donald Trump is winning his war with the NFL.
Mike Pence’s walkout of the Colts-49ers game is the latest blow the Trump Administration struck at the National Football League. [Vice President Mike Pence leaves Colts-49ers game after players kneel during anthem, Fox News, October 8, 2017] A leader has to make hard decisions. But an effective leader forces others to make hard decisions! Trump has done just that, exposing the NFL as a corrupt, elitist and unpatriotic organization that protects criminals and holds the historic American nation in contempt.
Trump never used legal action against the NFL, merely the bully pulpit. The NFL could have simply ignored him. But instead, they fell into his trap.
NFL players are free to support Black Lives Matter or anything else on their own time. But during a game, they are at work (and are paid very well for it). Like any other employees, they can’t just do anything they want.
The NFL has a game operations manual which states:
The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem. During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking”
[‘We’re not going to play politics’: Steelers’ Mike Tomlin says team won’t take the field for anthem, By Cindy Boren, September 24, 2017]
But the NFL does not enforce this, because it doesn’t want to be called racist. However, it can’t credibly claim to be supporting the players’ right to “free speech”—
- Why didn’t it allow Dallas players to wear helmet decals honoring slain Dallas policemen in 2016?
- Or a Tennessee Titan to wear 9/11 commemoration cleats in 2016 ?
- Why was Robert Griffin III, then a Washington Redskin, fined 10,000 dollars in 2013 for “wearing unauthorized apparel”—an “Operation Patience” t-shirt—during a pre-season warm-up? (The “Patience” referred to his orthopedic rehab—but the shirt it was on was by Adidas, not Nike.)
- Why was the same Robert Griffin III told to turn a Christian t-shirt inside out at a press conference ?
- Why did the NFL make a deal with Bose in 2014 which prohibits players “from wearing any other manufacturer’s headphones during televised interviews”?
- In 2015, why was DeAngelo Williams (then of the Steelers) fined for having “we will find a cure” (for cancer) on his eye black, and later teammate William Gay fined for wearing purple cleats (for Domestic Violence Awareness Week)?
- And why in 2016 did NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reportedly pull strings to get a Patriots fan who flipped him off fired?
[Goodell Ignoring League’s Own Rules in Letting Players Protest Anthem [UPDATED], September 25, 2017]
Oh, but the NFL did allow Colin Kaepernick to wear socks portraying policemen as pigs.
Some say Trump is wasting his time with the NFL imbroglio instead of policy. But it isn’t an either/or situation. Trump is showing his base that this tax-payer subsidized scam is now an enemy of the Historic American Nation, potentially waking up millions of people.
Sports in themselves aren’t unhealthy. But fandom has become an obsession for too many American men, who obsess over their teams while ignoring problems in their families, churches, communities and nation.
To quote Orwell, “Heavy physical work, the care of home and children, petty quarrels with neighbors, films, football, beer, and above all, gambling, filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult.” [1984, Chapter 7] (By “football” Orwell meant soccer, but the principle is the same).
Yet conservative sports fans have continued to rave on about their sports heroes and favorite teams.
The NFL makes billions off of ordinary Americans. It enjoys sweetheart deals with local governments which force taxpayers to help finance their stadiums, and then still charges an arm and a leg for tickets and parking. Their players are millionaires, some of whom can’t stop committing crimes, while the NFL (the “National Felon League”) protects them.
And despite all these perks, the NFL defends players who won’t salute the American flag.
The sheer shamelessness of it all is unmistakably waking up Middle America. Fans are beginning to boycott games or burning their paraphernalia. Those fans who do still attend are booing at games [N.F.L. Anthem Protests: Players Kneel, Stand and Hear Boos, By Benjamin Hoffman and Ken Belson, New York Times, October 1, 2017].
And sponsorships are being re-considered and even cancelled.
- Allan Jones, CEO of Hardwick Clothing (said to be America’s oldest suit maker) says the company will no longer sponsor wardrobes or advertise on the NFL, with the statement that “Our companies will not condone unpatriotic behavior!” [It Begins. Owner of Historic US Clothing Company Pulls Ads from NFL Games, by Jim Hoft, Gateway Pundit, September 27, 2017]
- In New Jersey, Steve Kalafer, “owner of Flemington Car and Truck Country has pulled the dealership’s ads from broadcasts of games for the remainder of the 2017 season” on the grounds that the NFL has no “comprehensive policy to ensure that players stand and show respect for America and our flag during the playing of the national anthem”. Therefore, Kalafer announced that “We have cancelled all of our NFL advertising on the Optimum and Infinity (cable) networks.” [N.J. mega car dealer pulls TV ads over NFL protests , By Sophie Nieto-Munoz, NJ.com, October 2,3, 21017]
- Bud Light is the official beer of the NFL, and its parent company Anheuser-Busch is reconsidering sponsorship and is asking for input from the public. You can call them at this hotline:1-800-342-5283. [Budweiser Considers Ending NFL Sponsorship Over Anthem Protests, The Federalist Papers, October 1, 2017]
And, in the Louisiana legislature, state support for the New Orleans Saints has been called into question, with Representative Kenny Havard going so far as to call “for Louisiana’s government to pull state funding, tax breaks and other support from the professional football franchise. “ [Louisiana lawmakers question New Orleans Saints state funding after players protest , by Julia O’Donoghue, The Times-Picayune, September 26, 2017].
The worst part for the owners: the “woke” black players are going to demand even more concessions. Amid plummeting favorability ratings for the league, ESPN just suspended Jemele Hill for floating a boycott of Cowboys sponsors in protest of Jerry Jones’s declaration players must respect the flag [ESPN Reporter Who Tweeted That President Trump Was A ‘White Supremacist’ Suspended After Second Violation of Social Media Policy, by Dylan Gwinn, Breitbart, October 9, 2017].
By enabling their players, the NFL owners have fallen into a trap that could destroy the league.
Trump couldn’t have planned it any better himself.
American citizen Allan Wall (email him) moved back to the U.S.A. in 2008 after many years residing in Mexico. Allan`s wife is Mexican, and their two sons are bilingual. In 2005, Allan served a tour of duty in Iraq with the Texas Army National Guard. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his Mexidata.info articles are archived here ; his News With Views columns are archived here; and his website is here.