(National Sentinel)Â NFL Hell:Â President Donald J. Trump, during a speech in Alabama to stump for U.S. Sen. Luther Strange, had some choice things to say about the NFL and players who have chosen to sit or kneel during the playing of the National Anthem as a form of social protest.
Trump called on Americans fed up with the disrespect to “boycott” any team featuring protesting players, theÂ Daily MailÂ reported.
NFL ratings started slipping last year when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who is black, began kneeling during the anthem when he was anÂ injured backup player.
At the time, Kaepernick said he was protesting “a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”
The protests have only spread this year, with mostly black players taking the same actions and attitude that Kaepernick — who hasn’t been able to land with another team after leaving the 49ers last year — started.
And as recent research has indicated, the protests are hurting attendance at games, as well as TV ratings and viewership.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b***h off the field right now!’?” Trump boomed at his rally, which was followed up with chants of “USA! USA!” from the crowd.
“If you see it â€“ even if it’s one player â€“ leave the stadium. I guarantee things will stop,” said Trump, who at one time owned the New Jersey Generals of the long-defunct United States Football League (USFL), which folded in the mid-1980s after just three seasons.
Trump went on to note that owners would be branded instantly as heroes if they pulled protesting players off the field. And he reiterated that such actions would draw more fans back to games and TV viewership would spike.
The president also criticized other aspects of the game, noting that rule changes in recent years — like referees throwing penalty flags for hits that are judged to be too strong — are “ruining the game.”
Players “want to hit,” said Trump.
“But you know what’s hurting the game more than that?” Trump asked. “When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they are playing our great National Anthem.”
Trump’s comments resonated in Alabama, not simply because it’s a deeply conservative state, but also because the University of Alabama has had the No. 1 collegiate football program in the country for years, winning several national championships.
“The only thing you could do better is, if you see it â€“ even if it’s one player â€“ leave the stadium. I guarantee things will stop. Things will stop,” said Trump. “Just pick up and leave.”
The problem with that suggestion, however, is that ticket prices for most games and most teams are in the hundreds of dollars.
Still, it’s hard to argue with Trump’s prediction that, at some point, NFL owners are going to intervene in some way to staunch the hemorrhaging of viewership and TV ratings, which are already costing the league tens of millions in revenue.
As for the protesting players, two things: 1) Yes, you have a right to protestÂ whatever it is you think you need to protest; 2) Owners have a right to protect their investment (which would be theÂ team and the league) by letting you go the way of Kaepernick and replacing you with someone who is, shall we say, less prone to self-destruction.
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