Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman advised the league and his fellow players to ignore President Trump’s criticisms of the NFL anthem protests on Tuesday.
The star corner said he believes the president will be “out of office in two years,” and that the league’s bank accounts “will be fine.” Norman shared his thoughts with Kevin Clark of the Ringer. When asked how the league should handle the president’s criticisms, Norman said:
You continue to do what you do, because guess what? You have a product, and that product is f–king banking. It’s the no. 2 product in the world outside of soccer — you cannot beat it. Those checks will keep coming regardless of what you do. I wouldn’t tell them to do a f–king thing. This guy is going to out of office in two years. I think we’ll be OK. Trust me: The accounts will be fine. I wouldn’t put emphasis on it. Because the fans are going [to] come. It’s not like you’ve got scabs on the field like in 1987. So what if it’s a down year? Who gives a f–k? Next year you’ll be great. It’s not going to catastrophically disappear because one guy said something.
While NFL finances certainly haven’t suffered, especially in regards to the television package. It’s important to note that the NFL is still operating under negotiated network deals that don’t expire until 2021. Meaning, that the financial impact from losing 17% of its television audience over the last two years, won’t show up for another three years at least.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers also recently advised the league, and his fellow players to ignore the president. This represents a stark contrast from the stance taken by the league last year after the president’s strong criticism of anthem protesters at a political rally in Alabama.
At the time, Trump called NFL players “SOB’s,” and said that he wished their team owners would fire the. Then-NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart retaliated against the president by characterizing the league’s protests and discussions on social issues as, “real locker room talk.” A reference to the White House’s characterization of President Trump’s conversation with Billy Bush.
After that, the president took on the NFL in a raging debate on the anthem protests which ended with the league suffering a ten percent decline in television ratings.
If the anthem protests, oversaturation of games, constant replay reviews, and controversial rule changes continue, the ratings will likely continue to fall. At which point, Josh Norman and his fellow players may not have such a tolerant attitude towards the anthem protests.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn