On Friday, Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk wrote that Donald Trump, once defeated by the NFL, now claims that he brought the NFL down.
At a rally in Cincinnati, Trump laid into the NFL, “[T]heir ratings were so far down. And you know what the reason was? Because this business is tougher than the NFL. . . . Their ratings were down 20, 21 percent, and it was because of us.”
Florio reacted to Trump, “It’s not much different than Trump’s comments from October, when he both claimed credit for the dip in ratings and blamed Colin Kaepernick for it. The broader point is that the incoming Commander-in-Chief has the platform to make his voice heard, the willingness to say whatever he wants, and a lingering resentment of a billionaire’s club that consistently refused him admission.”
The story Florio references doesn’t mention Trump taking credit for the NFL ratings dive, nor does it mention Trump saying anything about Kaepernick.
However, there’s no contradiction between Trump taking credit for the NFL’s ratings nosedive and simultaneously blaming Kaepernick. Polling cites Kaepernick’s anthem protests as the primary reason why people stopped watching the NFL. Trump’s strong criticism of Kaepernick made the quarterback a national campaign issue during a presidential election, which certainly advanced the issue and brought it home to a lot of people who may very well have decided to switch off the league after hearing Trump speak about it.
Florio also charges that Trump will wage a personal vendetta against the league, reasoning that with lingering bitterness about his failure to turn the USFL into a rival of the NFL, and anger at the NFL for spurning his efforts to purchase the Buffalo Bills, Trump will use the presidency to damage the league every opportunity he gets.
On the other hand, in the weeks following the election Donald Trump named a governor who once described him as “everything a governor doesn’t want in a president,” to be our U.N. ambassador. And, as of the time of this writing, Trump very seriously considers nominating a man who once said that Trump “has neither the temperament, nor the judgment to be president,” to our nation’s top diplomatic post.
So, I wouldn’t say that Donald Trump doesn’t know how to hold a grudge, though he doesn’t seem very good at it. In any event, the NFL likely will have to destroy itself without Donald Trump’s help, something they appear to be perfectly capable of doing.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn