It took 5 weeks, but one NFL team has reportedly been told what all teams should have been told before the season even started: stand for the anthem, or stay in the locker room.
NFL Spokesperson Brian McCarthy sought to clarify the league’s stance, by drawing distinctions between league policies and league rule: “It’s policy, it’s not a rule. I think where people are getting confused is, rules, that’s like holding or defensive pass interference, that’s a rule. This is policy,” McCarthy said, via the Indy Star.
Of course, one can present this as the owner’s responding to President Trump’s demands if they want. However, that’s more of a political explanation that serves as a nice political talking point for the players, and against the owners. The reality is, NFL owners are businessman and these anthem protests are costing them money.
A recent poll showed that the NFL no longer ranks as America’s favorite sport. That poll, jives with a Rasmussen poll which showed that 34% of fans were less likely to watch football because of the anthem protests. Nor are those the only other indicators. After Commissioner Goodell made his disastrous decision to confront President Trump, after the president called NFL anthem protesters out, NFL ticket sales crashed.
Nor are these players likely to want to continue their protests, after the players realize that their wildly unpopular protest will cost them money. The reality is, if this report is true, the owner wouldn’t even have to like President Trump, in order to justify telling his players to stop. He could do it because it’s bad for business, and no one gets rich enough to buy an NFl franchise by being bad at business.