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On Tuesday morning led by its Commissioner, the NFL officially blinked giving President Trump a victory in the National Anthem War. While it helped, in the end, it wasn’t the sliding ratings or the drop in fan support that moved the league to put up the white flag but a Presidential tweet which said,  Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our AnthemFlag, and CountryChange tax law”  

That tweet prompted Roger Goodall, NFL Commissioner, to send out the following statement:

“We live in a country that can feel very divided. Sports, and especially the NFL, brings people together and lets them set aside those divisions, at least for a few hours. The current dispute over the National Anthem is threatening to erode the unifying power of our game, and is now dividing us, and our players, from many fans across the country.

“I’m very proud of our players and owners who have done the hard work over the past year to listen, understand and attempt to address the underlying issues within their communities. At our September committee meetings, we heard directly from several players about why these issues are so important to them and how we can support their work. And last week, we met with the leadership of the NFLPA and more players to advance the dialogue.

“Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem. It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us. We also care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues. The controversy over the Anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues. We need to move past this controversy, and we want to do that together with our players.

“Building on many discussions with clubs and players, we have worked to develop a plan that we will review with you at next week’s League meeting. This would include such elements as an in-season platform to promote the work of our players on these core issues, and that will help to promote positive change in our country. We want to ensure that any work at the League level is consistent with the work that each club is doing in its own community, and that we dedicate a platform that can enable these initiatives to succeed. Additionally, we will continue the unprecedented dialogue with our players.

“I expect and look forward to a full and open discussion of these issues when we meet next week in New York. Everyone involved in the game needs to come together on a path forward to continue to be a force for good within our communities, protect the game, and preserve our relationship with fans throughout the country. The NFL is at its best when we ourselves are unified. In that spirit, let’s resolve that next week we will meet this challenge in a unified and positive way.”

Translating that statement into English, what the commissioner said was,  Okay guys listen, you are pissing off our fan base.  Football fans love America and they can’t understand why a bunch of spoiled rich guys would dishonor the country which allows them to protest. Because they object to your protests, some of our fans aren’t watching the games. Our ratings are down causing our TV partners to lose money.  And now the President is threatening to remove our tax breaks and cost us more cash. Now be good guys and don’t kneel anymore. Because if you do we won’t have the money to pay you those huge salaries for playing a game. So it doesn’t seem like a total loss, we will set up another time during the week when you can make your political statements.

The Hill is reporting that there is more:

The commissioner said that the NFL has “worked to develop a plan that we will review with you at next week’s League meeting.”

Goodell said it will include items like a platform to promote the work of players on “these core issues,” and said the league will “continue the unprecedented dialogue with our players.”

NFL owners will reportedly consider a rule requiring players to stand during the national anthem when they meet next week.

“Everyone involved in the game needs to come together on a path forward to continue to be a force for good within our communities, protect the game, and preserve our relationship with fans throughout the country,” Goodell said.

Here’s the real truth, although the players deny it,  this protest was always about respecting America and the Flag–Colin Kaepernick said so. After the very first time, he sat down for the National Anthem last season Kaepernick told the press he was protesting because he didn’t want to honor the Flag.

The protests were hurting ratings last year.  When President Trump got involved this year he heard what the American people were saying, and he emphasized what Kaepernick started this protest was about a reluctance to honor flag and country. This is not to suggest that there are no problems in this country–of course, there is and we need to discuss these issues and continue to fix them.  But there are better ways to have the necessary dialog than dishonoring our national symbols.

President Trump got involved this year as he heard what the American people were saying. The President grabbed hold of what American’s were upset about and what Kaepernick stated this protest was about: a reluctance to honor flag and country.This is not to suggest that there are no problems in this country–of course, there is and we need to discuss these issues and continue to fix them.  But there are better ways to have the necessary dialog than dishonoring our national symbols.

This is not to suggest that there are no problems with bigotry and hatred in this country–of course there are problems. As a people, we discuss these issues and continue to fix them.  But there are better ways to have the necessary dialog than dishonoring our national symbols.

President Trump didn’t start the issue, Kaepernick did—he didn’t generate the displeasure the American people had for the players’ dishonoring this great country, he just accelerated the pressure.

The President got the result America wanted, the NFL players are going to have to find a different time and place to protest because based on the Commissioner’s words and actions President Trump lead NFL fans to a victory in the NFL National Anthem War.

 

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