Over the weekend Trump went to war with the NFL, bringing up a dead controversy in order as some say, to distract his base from the looming Russian investigation and various legislation failures, like Health Care.
Fresh off the heels of his tone deaf campaign rally in Alabama Trump tweeted numerous times about the issue of kneeling before the flag instead of standing for it at Game Day national anthems. He hoped that, by injecting himself into the waters of the NFL, that more people would tune in. To watch the protests by players and to see if anybody, “Kicked those S.O.B.s off the field.” Nobody did, and for both nights (Sunday & Monday) the sports world was unified against the President.
However, the pundits immediately took the bait. The race baiters and the disgruntled African Americans both tried to conflate the issue, even though everyone thought the issue was one and done after Colin Kaepernick was no longer employed by the NFL. Kaepernick meanwhile has transformed into a sort of quasi-religious figure in the NFL, with many players seeking his counsel during these troubling times and asking him for advice on what to do. It’s amazing to see what has transpired in less than a year since, he took a knee. And I guess President Trump deserves that credit, but he does not deserve any credit for a ratings win.
On Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted that “Ratings for NFL football are way down except before game starts, when people tune in to see whether or not our country will be disrespected!” There is literally no way to measure that statement accurately. TV ratings generally do not measure how many people watched the National Anthem and then the game. They calculate ratings based on the whole 3+ hour time-slot, and then DVR playbacks sometimes up to a week later. Also acting like, National Anthem protests were the sole cause of a ratings drop for the past two years is simply fake news. You cannot claim a ratings loss before the event that you are complaining about happened! That’s like if Hillary Clinton came out prematurely and said she won the election.
Furthermore, I doubt Trump realizes when those real ratings come out and it’s not clear what time frame Trump was talking about and I don’t even know if he was talking about Sunday or Monday ratings! One of those days the ratings were up! So people were probably tuning in, to see how the NFL handled the issue, but not necessarily due to the protests themselves and the protests themselves were not part of the reason for a ratings downfall, because there were no protests before Trump tweeted about it. Now there will be and the ratings might actually go up because of them.
If Trump didn’t want to see protests and he didn’t want to see a ratings drop, then he shouldn’t have opened up his big mouth and politicized one of the largest organizations in the world that just so happens to be made up of 70% African Americans.
The truth of that matter is that he did want to see these things happen. He was caught bragging about how the issue really caught on at dinner Monday night. But while sports fans can and always will be fighting with each other, at the end of the game, each side shakes hands with the opposition. Sports is a unifier and who knows, maybe the country is beginning to see the birth of this new tradition called taking a knee.