Sportsball Open Thread: There Is Power In A Union?

I am given to understand that Roger Goodell is an aggregation of marketing slogans made flesh and slapped in a jacket, but it seems that the players still have some pushback here:

The NFL did not seek commitments from its players to stop kneeling during pregame renditions of the U.S. national anthem but rather focused on helping them in their political activism.

“We spent today talking about the issues that our players have been trying to bring attention to. About issues in our communities to make our communities better,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters.

Trump’s repeated denunciation of the players as unpatriotic for kneeling during the national anthem, which he reiterated as recently as Monday, has only made the practice more widespread…

The small but growing number of players who have taken to kneeling during the national anthem are protesting the killing by police of unarmed black men and boys across the United States, as well as racial disparities in the criminal justice system. More than half of all NFL players are black.

Goodell appeared less interested in stifling the silent protests, despite Trump’s wishes, and instead praised players’ character, saying he wanted to help their political activism.

“Today’s discussion with our players was very productive and very important. It reflected our commitment to work together with our players on issues of social justice,” said Goodell…

Along those lines, team owners and 13 players had a “productive meeting” of their own earlier on Tuesday at the league offices about how to collaborate on positive social change and addressing inequality, according to a statement by the NFL and the players’ union, the NFL Players Association…

Malcolm Jenkins, a player for the Philadelphia Eagles, told reporters that the two sides discussed how to amplify players’ voices and make what he called “long, sustainable changes.”

“We all have mutual interests. … We want to make sure that the quality of product that we put out on the field is great, but at the same time we have a responsibility to the communities that we live in and the communities that we come from,” Jenkins said…

Players and their union have bristled at Trump’s assertion they are unpatriotic. Though still a minority, more players have begun kneeling since the new football season began, and some sympathetic teammates have linked arms with the kneelers while standing themselves…

The NYTimes:

The league’s rule book never required players to stand for the anthem but says they must be on the sideline during the song and “should” stand for it.

The ambiguity in the rule has made it difficult for the league to fine players who have either sat or knelt for the anthem, and the owners had discussed clarifying the wording to make standing for the anthem mandatory.

By leaving the rule alone, the league has chosen to avoid more internal strife with its players and to potentially weather more criticism from fans and President Trump, who has repeatedly ridiculed the league for not firing players who demonstrate during the anthem.

“We need to be above petty attacks from anybody, because racial and socioeconomic inequality has existed in this country for too long,” Jed York, the chief executive and co-owner of the San Francisco 49ers, said when asked about the president’s criticism of the league. “You got to block out the noise and go do your job, and that’s what we need to focus on.”…

We fully understand that nobody’s gonna pay NFL dollars to watch a bunch of Trump interns in full gear attempt not to injure themselves running around the field every Sunday, Monday, and Thursday evening, Mr. I-Killed-Arena-Football.

…Jenkins said there had been no discussion during the meeting about prohibiting players from kneeling during the national anthem; whether players continue to do so, he said, would be an individual decision.

He also said that Kaepernick had been invited to the meeting but chose not to attend. Kaepernick’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, later said it was possible that Kaepernick would attend future meetings…

The league also continues to grapple with Kaepernick, who filed a grievance accusing the owners of colluding to keep him from joining a team. Kaepernick, who led the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2013, has remained unsigned since leaving the team in March.

What say the sports fans?

Moar Sunday Sportsball Open Thread

(Mike Luckovich via


Yeah, I suspect there’s a lot more Trumplodytes bitching about the NFL than actually boycotting. Situation’s getting completely meta…

Sportsball & Politics

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.

Saturday Afternoon Open Thread

Too much sportsball on today. We’ve settled on Yanks-Astros for now.

A local reporter captures chilling footage of a man eater:

I got nothing else. Open thread!

GOP Idiocracy Open Thread: Today, Mike Pence Became Truly Vice-Presidential


Somewhere, ol’ Lyndon is saying, “Damn, that’s no way to treat a man who willingly cut off his own pecker so you could carry it in your pocket!”

Truly, this is the strangest timeline, when even Bill Kristol is not reliably 100% always wrong…
Read more

College Football Open Thread

Better late than never:

Is anyone here in the path of Hurricane Nate? Looks like it might be a little stronger than they figured at first, so stay safe.

Thread open for all topics.

Thank Goodness the NHL is Back

So sick and tired of hearing about football and baseball.

Go Pens!