Why Donald Trump Might Not Watch the NFL This Year

Published on August 11, 2020

A pandemic has wrecked the economy, killed over 160,000 people in the United States, and millions are out of work as the House and the Senate can’t come to terms on a new stimulus bill. Having said all that, President Donald Trump is whining about athletes peacefully protesting on national television again. Recently, the president stated he wouldn’t watch the NFL if players kneel, which they will. 

The Peaceful Protest

Of course, it was San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick who first kneeled during the national anthem. It was a veteran who suggested to him kneeling as a form of protest. Since 2016, the NFL’s commissioner and league owners have changed their tune about kneeling during the national anthem. Whether it’s genuine growth or not, the league is now publicly supporting their players right to protest peacefully in the United States. The president still does not.

The Latest NFL Comments from Trump

Trump, who’s currently losing in the polls against Joe Biden, has again gone back to the subject of kneeling during the anthem. During an interview with a Fox Sports show, Trump said of the NFL’s upcoming and uncertain season:

“They want to open and they want to open badly and they’ve been working with government. I would say this: If they don’t stand for the national anthem, I hope they don’t open. But, other than that, I’d love to see them open and we’re doing everything possible for getting them open. They can protest in other ways, they shouldn’t protest our flag or our country. If they don’t stand for the flag and stand strongly, I’d be very happy if they didn’t open. That being said, I’d love to see them open.” 

Unlike Trump, the NFL and its commissioner, the untrustworthy Roger Goodell, says the league was “wrong for not listening.” Goodell is now encouraging players to protest and kneel during the anthem. If the league does return, expect to see players kneeling for the safety of their fellow citizens. 

Trump on the NBA

Trump took aim at the NBA, too. The man who mocked a disabled reporter and recently said the Spanish flu helped end World War II had the gall to bash the intelligence of the league’s players, too:

“The kneeling (during the national anthem) has been horrible for basketball. They’ve had horrible ratings, low numbers. People are angry about it. They have enough politics with guys like me. There was a nastiness about the NBA the way (protesting) was done. The NBA is in trouble, bigger trouble than they understand. I haven’t noticed them sending (criticism) back to me. I wouldn’t be surprised. There are some very, very, very nasty, frankly very dumb (players). I haven’t noticed that.” 

Trump’s comments on the ratings are incorrect. They’re not awful; they’re great. Since the league restarted, there’s 14% more viewers than usual watching the games. 

Trump is Nixon But Worse

Comparisons have been previously drawn between Trump and President Richard Nixon. They both have a lot in common when it comes to sports. Neither man ever played anywhere near a professional level in football or basketball. Nixon was told he wasn’t strong enough to play football, and yet like Trump, had a lot of unwanted opinions about the NFL. Nixon would not only offer his commentary publicly, but he’d call teams and suggest plays, which usually wouldn’t go well. 

Both presidents do not stay in their lane and think they know more about sports than the people playing the game. Protesting, for example, has been a part of sports for a long time. It is a crucial part of sports’ history. Some history’s greatest athletes, like Jesse Owens and Muhammad Ali, protested. Protesting belongs in sports. Sports is about people, and the people playing the game, at the end of the day.

Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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