NFL ProtestsBy Tom Dougherty
League accepting NFL protests. Tide turning?
If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past few days, it’s that the NFL players own a lot more power than they (or we) previously thought. The acceptance of NFL protests by the league and its commissioner sends some interesting signals to its teams, fans and even POTUS.
The Black Lives Matter marches feel like a sea change in our culture, although it’s too early to predict. For one thing, the presidential election is not for five months, so who knows which way the wind blows then.
But over the weekend, NFL players reacted in force when Saints QB Drew Brees said he couldn’t support someone protesting the flag. Players, including his teammates, fired back that the NFL protests led by Colin Kaepernick were not about the flag. They were about police brutality. (And we’ve seen plenty of that lately.)
Then the dominos fell in rapid succession. Trump supported Brees. Brees apologizes and answers Trump that the NFL protests were not about the flag. Bree’s teammate and primary offensive weapon Michael Thomas coordinates a video of NFL stars demanding the NFL condemn racism, believe black lives matter and state that the league was wrong about its treatment of protesting players.
“For the league, they realized its primary asset, the players, were in full revolt and the future of the NFL was at stake. For a league that essentially caved to Trump during the Kaepernick-led NFL protests, it was a shocking (and welcome) development.”
League responds with support for NFL protests
So what did the NFL do? It swerved so hard into the players’ direction it made me dizzy. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell released a video saying:
“We, the National Football League, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of black people. We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the National Football League, believe Black Lives Matter.”
Whoa. For the league, they realized its primary asset, the players, were in full revolt and the future of the NFL was at stake. For a league that essentially caved to Trump during the Kaepernick-led NFL protests, it was a shocking (and welcome) development.
What does this mean going forward? The Black Lives Matter movement itself seems to be changing the world. And it’s changing the normally stodgy NFL as well.
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