After two years of controversy surrounding players defiantly kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem at NFL games, the league has finally made an official decision about the controversial form of protests. And it just might be the best thing that’s happened to those trying to make a statement–though they’ve yet to realize it.
Last season, ticket sales, viewership, and public enthusiasm for the NFL plummeted as players mimicked former 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s controversial method of protest against the national anthem–kneeling as it was played in the stadium before games.
Apparently, this season, the backlash has caught up with the football league and they’ve decided to put an end to the unpopular demonstration from players–but players are not happy.
The Washington Times has the story:
NFL owners stood up Wednesday to the kneelers, voting to ban on-field protests during the national anthem after two years of social justice activism, fan outrage and flagging viewership — but that doesn’t mean game over.
The NFL Players Association blasted the policy change, warning that it would challenge any aspect “inconsistent with the collective-bargaining agreement,” while the decision was decried by others as an infringement of the players’ free speech rights.
Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long accused the league of bowing to President Trump, who whipped up opposition last year to the take-a-knee protests, adding that the owners “don’t love America more than the players.”
“This is fear of a diminished bottom line,” Mr. Long said in a statement. “It’s also fear of a president turning his base against a corporation. This is not patriotism. Don’t get it confused.”
For NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and owners, however, the decision struck a balance between respecting the views of players who object to standing for “The Star-Spangled Banner” and those offended by athletes using the anthem ceremony to further a political agenda.
Trump stoked the fires of outrage at the league last year in a series of–in typical Trumpian style–tweets accusing the players and the NFL of being un-American. Following his comments, however, dozens of players joined in the demonstration, angering fans, some of whom took to social media to burn their NFL jerseys and other fan gear.
NFL leadership and TV executives alike are now clearly determined to rev up ratings, which had dropped following the revived kneeling protests, but it’s unclear yet if it will have an actual impact.
Dave Whitley of the Orlando Sentinel says that while the league’s decision is unpopular among the players who wanted to protest, they’re actually doing both fans and would-be kneelers alike a big favor:
“Most NFL players won’t realize it, but the owners did them a favor on Wednesday. It gets back to a simple rule of persuasion,” he explains. “Don’t start your argument by insulting half your audience.”
“Players can still make stands or take knees. They just won’t be allowed to do it in front of fans that paid to watch a football game, not a political protest,” he continues. “Some of those fans might be more sympathetic to the protesters’ concerns. Players might not realize it, but spitting on something people hold dear is no way to win them over.”
And this is the ultimate bottom line. It’s hard to say if this will actually work to boost fan interest and ratings for the league, but if these players had never chosen a method of protest in the first place that insulted the deeply-held values of so many fans, fans who would otherwise in no way be unsympathetic to their cause, they wouldn’t be in this position in the first place.
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Trump Channels HBO Blockbuster to Troll Democrats After Mueller Report’s Release
The President’s tweet carried with it a lot of bravado…but was it premature?
The Mueller report has arrived, all 400+ pages of it, and the media at large is attempting to scour through it as quickly as possible at this early hour. Pundits are sitting around their special, “big news” sets, laptops ablaze like a well-lit Stonehenge, as these entertainers of “the news” attempt to breathlessly interpret the report in their own partisan language before the President and his lawyers speak on the subject. Trump, however, is a master media manipulator who will invariably get his point across, with or without the television media’s help. Such is that case today as the President piggybacked on the hype surrounding HBO’s Game of Thrones to bolster his base’s belief in him. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1118876219381026818 Critics of the President have been quick to point out that Mueller’s report specifically states that Congress is still able to work on the ten instances of “obstruction of justice” that the Special Counsel investigated, despite the President attempting to call “game over”. Attorney General Bill Barr said something quite different in a statement this morning. As for obstruction, Barr said that the report recounts 10 episodes involving Trump and “discusses potential legal theories for connecting these actions to elements of an obstruction offense.” But he said the White House “fully cooperated” with the investigation, and that he concluded that the evidence is not sufficient to establish an obstruction-of-justice offense by Trump. Regardless of whether you believe that President Trump is “exonerated” through this Mueller report, it would be foolish in any case to believe that this is “game over”…especially now that the democrats have a hold of this massive trove of information.
The Trump of Indonesia
Does all this sound familiar?
[The following was written by Flag & Cross contributor Steve Sherman.] Across the planet, the political establishment and their mainstream media supporters are being disrupted. While populist revolts were bubbling beneath the surface for years, the election of Donald J. Trump supercharged and empowered opposition to the ruling elite and set in motion a worldwide reset of our politics. The next bout in the international struggle against the establishment is playing out tomorrow in Indonesia. Incumbent President Joko Widodo ran a pseudo Obama campaign of “change and hope” in 2014, riding the then-dominant political strategy to victory in the world’s third largest democracy. Widodo now faces a challenge to his failed regime from Trump-like challenger, Prabowo Subianto. There’s lots to challenge. The economy has been stagnant. Corruption is rife. And Widodo has morphed into the very thing he ran against in 2014 – a corrupt potentate interested only in enriching his cronies and maintaining his power. Worse, Widodo has introduced into the mix the People’s Republic of China. Whereas his predecessors resisted the invasion of Chinese capital and personnel, Widodo has facilitated China gaining an historic stronghold in this archipelago nation of more than 17,000 islands. While his detractors have yet to produce proof that Widodo has been personally compensated and compromised through infamous Chinese government payoffs, the invasion from the mainland has severely unsettled his political coalition. Further complicating matters for the incumbent is his inability to deal with religious intolerance in this largest Muslim nation. While Widodo tries to use the specter of Islamic fundamentalism to his advantage, he is undercut by his own missteps and those of his followers. The world continues to reel over the pernicious jailing in Widodo’s political base province of former Jakarta governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, an ethnic Chinese and a Christian. Purnama has been imprisoned only because he is a…
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