A while back in an early morning thread, I mentioned that one of my Trumpster uncles texted a meme about the take-a-knee protests. It was a photo of Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump, and the caption was, “And just like that, 63 million Americans said ‘Fuck the NFL.'”
I responded to the text with something snarky, along the lines of, “Who could have foreseen that when liberal and conservative America divorced, the libtards would get custody of the NFL?”
My uncle then huffily informed me that it was HUMOR, not a political debate. I dropped it, but this was at the beginning of Trump’s hissy fit about the NFL, so I found the claim that the meme wasn’t political disingenuous.
But one of y’all (can’t remember who, sorry) replied that my uncle may have really not seen it as political. Turns out, you were right. There are vast swathes of folks who see taking a knee during the national anthem as tantamount to pissing on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and pooping on Mom’s apple pie.
Trump, who is a moron just as Tillerson said, does have a demagogue’s talent for exploiting wedge issues, and he used his weekly address to gin up more outrage among the base on this issue. After blathering about the military he never bothered to join, Trump said:
Before watching a football game, you want to see those players be proud of their country. Respect our country. Respect our flag. And respect our national anthem and we think they will. We certainly hope they will.
Like most of what Trump does, this is a dominance thing with racial overtones. The majority of NFL players are black, and there’s only one owner who isn’t white. Some folks are crediting Trump with a victory over the NFL here, but I don’t think the story is over, not by a long shot.
Virtually all the stakeholders are rich men — players, owners, broadcasters, etc. And while the owners and networks have exponentially more money than the players, the players are the product. Will they allow themselves to be bullied into silence by the likes of Trump?
I read this morning that a couple of networks carrying today’s games don’t plan to broadcast the anthem. The NFL and networks desperately want the issue to go away. But will the players use it to assert their own independence and, hopefully, counter the bullshit narrative Trump is pushing about the nature of the protests?
If they do, will anyone hear them? My uncle won’t, but he’s not among the reachable, IMO. However, if Trump takes the bait (which he seems genetically incapable of NOT doing), could public perceptions shift when the highest elected official in the land makes ever more overt demands to mandate patriotic displays?
I don’t know. But it should be more interesting than some of today’s games.