At last Friday’s event to rally support* for Sen. Luther Strange, the Mitch McConnell-financed establishment candidate in today’s GOP runoff in Alabama, President Donald J. Trump veered — as he is wont to do — off topic: the NFL players refusing to stand for the national anthem.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners,” the commander-in-chief asked the crowd, “when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired!’?”
Trump’s trash-talking touched off bigger protests before Sunday’s games. Some argued the president was undermining freedom of expression. But, of course, the president was freely expressing himself.
And no doubt speaking for many others.
Polling conducted last year, after former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first took a knee during the pregame anthem — which started this trend — found a majority opposed to his actions.
“NFL ratings are down massively,” the President correctly remarked.
The National Football League’s television ratings dropped 8 percent last year, and so far 2017’s ratings are down an additional 15 percent. Moreover, in a massive JD Power survey, the protests during the anthem were the top reason given for not watching the NFL.
Of course, Kaepernick was making a political statement, not trying to maximize his dollar-value in the marketplace. The now mysteriously unemployed quarterback said a year ago, “If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right.”
Whether one agrees with Kaepernick or not, he is paying a steep price to make a point. Firing folks won’t silence the message.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
* The president oddly quipped of his Strange endorsement: “There is something called loyalty, and I might have made a mistake and I’ll be honest, I might have made a mistake.” Trump added that Strange and his GOP opponent, Judge Roy Moore, were “both good men” and he would campaign hard for either Republican.