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Liberation Sunday – Has the NFL surrendered?

Liberation Sunday – Has the NFL surrendered?

They asked us to choose sports heroes over country, and most people chose country.

At Yom Kippur break-fast Saturday night I discussed the NFL players’ “Take a Knee” protest and Trump’s tweets.

One of the people, who is not anti-Trump, thought it was a mistake for Trump to tweet about it as he did. That it simply made it a bigger deal and probably generated sympathy for the players.

I disagreed.

The protests were as much about Trump as about racial justice, and that was before Trump even commented.

Much like the media attempt to turn Houston, then Florida, and now Puerto Rico into Trump’s Katrina, there is nothing honest about how the media treats such disputes. Every event is twisted and turned to try to make it Trump’s Katrina, the defining event in which a passive president allows the media to freeze his presidency. Bush never recovered from the false blame placed on him by the media and Democrats for the failed Katrina response by local authorities, particularly in New Orleans.

Trump could have sat back and seen a major, perhaps THE major, sports institution weaponized against him as part of #TheResistance, or he could have hit back.

I’ll grant you, in a better world a president wouldn’t and shouldn’t respond to player protests in the way Trump did. But it’s not a better world. It’s a world in which there has been a sustained attempt to undo the election starting on election night, through Electoral College voting, into the Inauguration and the contrived Women’s March(es), and daily since then.

The players protest cannot be viewed in isolation.

According to Twitter and news reports, only a handful of players protested so far today during the national anthem. The Baltimore Ravens took a knee prior to the anthem, and were booed by the crowd.

I can guarantee you, had Trump not responded as he did to those initial kneel-downs, and were the American people not on Trump’s side on the merits, this weekend would have been quite different. This weekend would have seen mass protests on the field, with the protesters dressed in football uniforms and helmets instead of pussy-hats.

There was nothing improper about a president pushing back against critics. No one was arrested, and the police power of the state was not threatened much less used. A group of players who thought, mistakenly, that they had the people on their side found out they didn’t. And a politician with a gut instinct on the issue turned it around on them. That’s politics, baby.

I don’t know if the kneel-down protests are completely over, but to paraphrase Harry Reid, the knee-jerk protesters have failed, their war is lost.

But it’s not just about the players. It’s about the owners and the NFL. They were all-too-ready to back the players all-too-quickly until the optics changed on them, the fans started booing, and the polling moved against them.

I’ve discussed how I don’t care anymore about the NFL, despite a lifetime of caring, and how the emotional bond has been broken, The NFL is “like a loveless marriage now”:

“The NFL to me is emotionally dead. It’s like a loveless marriage now. I really don’t care about it. And I think that’s worse for the NFL. If people hate it and are angry and upset, they’re still going to watch the games and still get emotionally involved. I’m not emotionally involved with the NFL and that’s contrary to my entire life. Most of my life growing up, the NFL was such a critical part of it. Now it’s just something I’m not interested in.”

So I didn’t watch any games today.

I saw a tweet by Matt Lewis that “Maybe it’ll change when the weather’s cold, but not being chained to the TV on an NFL Sunday is liberating.” It turns out, as he explained to me by email, that he quit watching football several weeks ago for family quality of life reasons, before the current mass protests and Trump’s comments.

Maybe these kneel-down protests just took place at the worst possible time for the NFL, a time when people were ready to be fed up for a lot of reasons. Certainly, the survey data showing a precipitous drop in the NFL brand reputation and favorability suggests the public reaction is not just to the protests. The perfect storm for the NFL.

I’m not sure the NFL players or NFL owners and league have unconditionally surrendered, yet. There still seem to be a few dead-enders still fighting in the mountains. But they have lost the people. They asked us to choose sports heroes over country, and most people chose country.

I felt liberated today. Call it Liberation Sunday.


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“I’ll grant you, in a better world a president wouldn’t and shouldn’t respond to player protests in the way Trump did.”
I’ll keep reading, but I do not agree with this type of statement. It is similar to all who defend our country on TV or radio first saying words to the effect “I know our country is not perfect, far from it . . . .”
I don’t know what a perfect world is, but it does not include player protests like what we have seen these miserable self-righteous excuses for men act out.
I am glad that Trump fights back, and I am not interested in parsing the details.

    William A. Jacobson in reply to Rick. | October 1, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    Too bad you didn’t read the next sentence immediately after what you quoted. Sometimes it makes sense to read an entire post, or at least an entire paragraph, before reaching conclusions.

      As I wrote that I would, I did keep reading, but I commented before continuing to read to point out that your sentence that I quoted is like the seemingly mandated “America is not perfect” introduction by commentators on TV and radio who then have something positive to say about America, or Trump. I was expressly commenting on that introductory sentence.

        PrincetonAl in reply to Rick. | October 2, 2017 at 12:37 am

        I read the Professor’s paragraph (and his response to you) differently. He wasn’t qualifying “in a better world” as an admission of America is not perfect because of social justice type issues.

        He was qualifying “in a better world” meaning one where leftist progressive activists weren’t continuously mucking things up the way they do.

        In that world – which does not exist, and surely mars all our experience of America today – it would not be necessary for Trump to continuously hit back. But as a friend of mine says, you trade the market you got, not the one you wish you had, or lose your shirt.

        The “in a perfect world” issues he is referring to are not ones we created, need hang our head in shame, apologize for, etc. He is just acknowledging that communists, cultural marxists, subversives, and progressive do-gooders are trying to cause harm to our country by pouncing will ill intent on every word, every action, every opportunity.

        Your mileage may vary. But the professor I think is spot on.

        In a better world, Trump wouldn’t need to do this. Because a sole protestor would be ignored, the media wouldn’t gin it up, and his fellow players would chastise him and sort it out long before it became news.

        But its not that world. And that’s how we got Trump.

    Trump is pretty transparent: You hit him, he hits back. Plus he has harbored a grudge against the NFL going back to his NJ General days. Payback is a…

    This sort of battling would wear most people down. Trump seems to be energized by it. I was worried the left was going to coop him (that is a very real risk) but the Democrats are idiots and instead keep trying to destroy him.

Very good point about how the left has been attacking Trump since he won. The attacks by the left has been against everything that is American. But it has gotten too silly now that normal America has had enough. What or who next gets trashed, defaced, impugned, and treated as “offensive” by the left in America.

The NFL offended their customers (like me). They need to apologise.

    snopercod in reply to MattMusson. | October 1, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    It won’t do any good.

      It will take large chunks of NFL management losing their jobs to make a difference. Stopping before that just makes them hold off before doing it again. Remember the James Dobson 700 club boycott against P&G’s support of gays over married people. Within 48 hours of Dobson declaring victory after P&G claimed to repudiate those policies, those policies were reinstated and no resumption of any boycott occurred.

        DaveGinOly in reply to jhn1. | October 1, 2017 at 10:18 pm

        Replacing the upper management of the league would help, but it won’t repair the damage done by the owners. In particular, as a former Pats fan, Bob Kraft’s comments are unforgivable, and it’s highly unlikely that he, or any other owner, will sell his team by way of apology.

        Even if that were too happen, it’s too late. The league has shown the fans that it’s just a business that doesn’t really care about the image and reputation of the game (it was willing to sacrifice both for its bottom line, fearing Leftist boycotts if it took action against black players), nor does it flinch from giving offense to its fans. The only difference might be that the league will squelch similar protests in the future, but that does not mean that there are no other scenarios in which the league would again throw the game and the fans under the bus. The league can no longer be trusted.

          rabidfox in reply to DaveGinOly. | October 1, 2017 at 11:39 pm

          Beyond that Dave, these protests have shown American viewers just what those highly paid NFL players and their rich owners REALLY think of us.

          maxmillion in reply to DaveGinOly. | October 2, 2017 at 12:12 pm

          Inasmuch as 70% of NFL players are black, NFL ownership feels obligated to have their backs against alleged racism.

      As far as I am concerned, their conduct has been so poor that no excuse or even apology is enough. Everyone should completely ignore their products and services for at least five years. That would teach them a valuable lesson.

Professor– Your previous essays on this subject were widely shared on other blogs. (You probably already know that.) They were really excellent, as it this one. Thanks.

Extremely well written and concise view as always. I was happy to see lists of NFL sponsors circulating and I wrote a few myself. These are companies that paid big bucks for the right to reach the same audience that the NFL is dismissing as retrograde morons and I’m sure they weren’t thrilled with the situation.

Professor wrote “so I didn’t watch any games today. ” me neither! I’ll never watch again.

And will the public accept the NFL’s surrender? The NFL has shown us who they really are. How can we ever cheer for them again?

I’ve gone from watching 3-4 NFL games a week two years ago to just the home-town Lions last year. Last week I stopped watching the Lions.

    kenoshamarge in reply to bw222. | October 2, 2017 at 9:21 am

    The same for our household. He and me. We had stopped watching anything except the Packers. After one kneeling and 3 on the bench followed by the Packers asking fans to take part in their political activities we stopped watching the Pack too. After 60 years we are free to spend more time together and with family instead of being glued to the television. It’s very nice.

    We’re enjoying it so much we won’t go back to being prisoners again.

      I’m born and raised in Wisconsin and have been a Packer fan my entire 81 years. Last week I scraped the Packer decal off my car and tossed my cheesehead in the trash. Until the owners (the fans) fire the management, I won’t watch another game.

“Maybe it’ll change when the weather’s cold, but not being chained to the TV on an NFL Sunday is liberating.”

Non-watcher, here.

Sundays during football season have in the past been one of my favorite times to lift heavy (for me–not much total weight) because the weight room was always empty. Ahhh, freedom!

The Professor hits it out of the park, again. Perfect and absolutely correct.

There is a certain symmetry to a knee-jerk reaction to a bunch of jerks on their knees! I have many much more important things to do instead of contributing money to the NFL … such as flossing the cat.

This round started with Steph Curry’s pre-emptive repudiation of an invitation to the White House honoring his team, the NBA champion Golden State Warriors. Trump responded with tweets critical of Curry. Then players in the NFL picked up the baton and protested Trump’s remarks by kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem, exciting Trump’s statement that the “sons of bitches” should be fired or asked to leave the field. Trump kept the emphasis on the anthem, never tying this to the ostensible, though not actual, basis for the protest, namely, the treatment of blacks by police and racism in America. This whole thing is, as Prof. Jacobson asserts, part of the continuing effort to destroy Trump. The problem is that Trump, unlike the players (and the owners who joined arms with the players as if they needed protection from the National Anthem), read perfectly the public’s view of the players and saw it for what it is: a denigration of our country. And that’s why Trump’s numbers are polling up (to 45% according to Rasmussen) and attendance at and viewership of NFL games are going down.

DouglasJBender | October 1, 2017 at 10:30 pm

“…with justice and liberty for all.”

OneVoiceInAmerica | October 2, 2017 at 12:42 am

Freedom to do as we please is not freedom from consequences. If money is all the league cares about, I hope these stunts cost them dearly yearly.

    Freedom has its limits… Those players were at work for pete’s sake. Brian Kilmeade said it.. The NFL fumbled this one… Anyway Prof. Jacobson nailed it…

JohnOfEnfield | October 2, 2017 at 4:00 am

London UK: And what message do NFL players want to convey when playing here at our National Stadium? Dissing (sorry – a colloquialism) their own Anthem & then standing to attention for God Save the Queen. As if we haven’t got enough of our own “Victims” . Bizarre.

    AmandaFitz in reply to JohnOfEnfield. | October 2, 2017 at 8:14 am

    I find it hysterical that NFL players stand for “God Save the Queen,” since slavery IN THE COLONIES began under the British monarchy.

    The ignorance of and lack of education about history and civics, of a large segment of the population of the United States, is BY DESIGN and serves the purposes of the Left. They have achieved their goal.

Well, ESPN has proven itself, if nothing else, to be remarkably resilient to the financial consequences of their liberal politics being foisted on everyone!

By “remarkably resilient” I mean they haven’t folded financially like a pack of cards just yet.

The NFL will be the same. They will bleed green like its going out of fashion BUT they won’t go under. On top of that this is a bit like the spoilt child, the more they are punished the harder left they will go!

For me, I just want to enjoy sorts without politics. For that one or two hours a week I want to be able to watch something that allows me to escape Real Life ™ and lets me dream about the “what ifs”…as in what if I had been athletically good enough to compete at the level when younger. BUT with politics slowly creeping in to sports its becoming harder and harder to get away from the lefts views on god damn everything!

I think that these protests clearly prove that playing football does indeed cause brain damage. That is not unexpected. What is somewhat unexpected, however, is that the brain damage is not limited to just the players but has also spread to the league’s executives and owners.

It’s not over. It’s just morphing into something slightly different but still offensive. Goodell and the owners are more afraid the players are going to walk off and not play. I thought they would instruct the teams to move on but that has not happened. They are determined to destroy their brand.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to PhillyGuy. | October 2, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    What difference would it make?

    At this point the NFL franchises are completely worthless.

    They’re more worthless than the Clintons’ marriage vows……

One nit to pick.

People who wear uniforms with their names on the back are not heroes. The heroes are the people whose names are on the front of their uniforms.

    Barry in reply to Y2K. | October 2, 2017 at 11:44 am

    “People who wear uniforms with their names on the back are not heroes.”

    Good point, one I’ve made before. Names on the back are used by those playing games, not heroes.

    Walker Evans in reply to Y2K. | October 2, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    Y2K and Barry … Bravo Zulu to you both!!

Professor, I’ve gone through a similar path with my enjoyment of the NFL. I grew up with pro football and take great pride that my uncle played a substantial role on Lombardi’s Superbowl I team.

The rules have evolved to become overly complicated leading to more penalties and play reviews. There are so many things now that break the flow of the game for me.

Then there are the advertisements. We know the networks have to pay the bills, but the amount of advertising is off putting. I went to using my DVR to record the 1st hour of the game so I could fast forward through commercial breaks. Then I started hitting the FF button between plays and would at times miss something interesting. That’s a lot of work to enjoy the game.

The player politics took me over the edge. I don’t plan my day around games anymore – even to watch the home team. I don’t care if my team wins or looses. I don’t care. Never thought that day would come but here we are.

    pwaldoch in reply to ole. | October 2, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    I’m similar to you, and I’m in Packer Country. Collage I used to watch all the time, then a bit while I was single and even then it was waning. Last few years, I’ve given up on Football in general and then this kneeling crap comes along. Now I have contempt for the NFL and pro-football in general.

In a better world, we wouldn’t need a president to take on media in a verbal street brawl.

I on the other hand think this is all misdirection on the part of the POTUS. He is delivering a made for TV drama on the things of his choosing to fill up the headlines. While the rats feed on the easy dramas, their appetites are satiated from going after dramas he serves up like it was made for an episode of The View.

He spends 30 seconds, they spend days. It’s a brilliant strategy.

1- Dishonest news still get their clicks.
2- The Left still gets to be filled with hate (from a Trump provided menu updated daily).
3- Trump gets to focus on real problems.

As soon as they lose focus, on yesterday’s episode he gives them another shiny object to chase. He owns them.

Once again, Trump flushes out hypocrisy. I’m starting to think he’s a genius troll. I agree, if Obama did this, we’d be up in arms but the context is different under Trump. From the get-go the left never accepted the result coming up with one pathetic excuse and logical fallacy and emotional hysteria after another to try and overturn a lawful, democratic result. It’s been a complete intellectual breakdown of the left. And they’re still DOING IT. So Trump, in this context, has to hit back and each time he does, he seems to get the upper hand. The NFL is really not that bright thus proving once again they should just stick to what they know. To think this whole saga started with a protesting QB on the decline (only to reveal himself as nothing more than a misguided – if not ignorant – SJW later on), then it evolved into a narcissistic and faux self-righteous cluster-frick rooted in faulty premises. For example, Bennett of the Seahawks insisting he was mistreated by ‘racist’ police despite what we now know – which was anything but. And for the love of God, – you’d have to be a naif to not see it – of course it’s about Trump. The whole damn liberal system has made it about Trump. From the punditry (led by the media and ESPN) to late talk show hosts (Kimmel is really losing it) to celebrities. All about Trump. And I’m starting to get the feeling if they keep this up, they won’t get the result they’re looking for. Indeed, when that happens, they won’t reflect that perhaps they’re wrong. Nope. They’ll just call people racists and Nazis for not seeing it their way. I’m an educated, well-read guy who speaks three languages, runs a business and just wants these idiots to not lecture me for once. It’s enough to tell ’em all to f-off.