Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh declared Roger Goodell’s letter to the NFL on Wednesday “a Trump win.” While stopping short of demanding players stand or else, the NFL commissioner made it clear that he believes they should stand and honor the flag.
“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,” Goodell wrote in a letter to the entire league. “Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem. It is an important moment in our game.”
But some protesting players aren’t ready to abide by their boss’ wishes. In fact, they’re planning to take action.
According to ESPN, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive lineman Gerald McCoy warned the NFL, "I don't think guys are gonna like it.”
He explained, “I think it's gonna be an uproar if that is to happen because you're basically taking away a constitutional right to freedom of speech. If guys wanna have a, I guess you would call it a peaceful protest, I don't think it's right to take that away.”
If many other players follow McCoy’s lead, and the NFL doesn’t put teeth behind Goodell’s letter, the upcoming games could be bad news for an industry that’s taken a nose dive as fans shun not only the National Anthem protests but the entire games.
In fact, earlier this week, “Monday Night Football” saw historically low ratings. Sunday was not a good day for ESPN either. On top of that, the NFL now ranks below the MLB, college football, the NBA, and college basketball — in that order — when it comes to popularity in America.
For an industry that used to rake in money hand over fist and was growing in leaps and bounds, September was a nightmarish month. October isn’t looking any better.
On Wednesday, President Trump praised Goodell’s letter:
But now, either because of that or because of a backlash from protesting players, the NFL now seems to be backpedaling from what Goodell said.
“Commentary this morning about the Commissioner's position on the Anthem is not accurate," the NFL declared in a statement. “As we said yesterday, there will be a discussion of these issues at the owners meeting next week. The NFL is doing the hard work of trying to move from protest to progress, working to bring people together.”
The statement added, “Commissioner Goodell spent yesterday with Miami Dolphins players, law enforcement and community leaders witnessing first-hand the outstanding work our players and clubs are doing to strengthen their communities. Players from around the league will be in New York next week to meet with owners to continue our work together.”
For many on both sides of the National Anthem protest, Goodell’s letter seemed very clear, but the league is now claiming that it was widely misunderstood.
What do you think of this? In related news, Rush Limbaugh says he’s “very uncomfortable” with what it looks like Trump is doing to the NFL.