The bye week seems like a good time to check in with the commish. First it was Colin Kaepernick, and activists who used him for their own purposes, who decided to turn the NFL into an ideological platform. Then it was Roger Goodell who embraced them — rejecting the idea that sports and politics shouldn’t be mixed.
Despite getting an immediate and resounding backlash from NFL fans, Goodell keeps going down the same track. On Tuesday, NFL owners and members of the NFL Players Association met to discuss those pesky national anthem protests.
Said Goodell: “[We talked about] issues that our players have been trying to bring attention to, about issues in our communities to make our communities better. I think we all agree there’s nothing more important than getting back into our communities and trying to make our communities better. That was the entire focus today.”
And you thought the NFL was all about football?
In related news, a Jaguars fan – make that ex-fan – was so disappointed at some of the team’s players kneeling for the anthem he hired a pilot to fly a banner saying “Be American. Boycott the Jags & the NFL” over the Jags’ stadium last Sunday before the Rams’ game.
Others have pointed out that for a game played in London, some Jags players knelt for the national anthem but stood for the playing of God Save the Queen.
Another news source, grabien.com, ran this header: “As NFL Ratings Plummet, Roger Goodell Develops Odd Verbal Tic.” Here’s a summary:
“Without a doubt, this is already an NFL season Roger Goodell can’t wait to drop kick into distant memory. As players’ political activism increasingly encroaches onto the playing field, ratings are getting blitzed… Over the first six weeks, NFL ratings are down 7.5 percent as compared to last season, per Nielsen. They’re down 18.7 percent from the 2015 season… His game plan appears to be encouraging players to remain committed to “the issues in their communities” while also telling fans he agrees these athletes should stand for the national anthem. Over the course of about 20 minutes before the press, Goodell used the same two words no fewer than 45 times.”
The words were “communities” and “issues.”
The Oppressed Michael Bennett
At the height of the uprising, you knew you could count on Michael Bennett, defensive end for the Seahawks and the brother of the Packers’ Martellus Bennett. Bennett made comparisons between working in the NFL and being Dred Scott, the slave credited with setting in motion events which led to the Civil War.
Bennett failed to point out that his slave-masters are paying him over $15 million this year alone.
A Whimper, Not a Bang
After week 4, the media was running stories detailing how many protesting players were on display at each NFL game. The count of protesting players was then peaking, at upwards of 200.
I just searched for stories about protests for the week 7 games and came up nearly empty.
Adam Stites of SB Nation saved the day. Here’s what he uncovered: three Dolphins stayed in the locker room during the anthem and were booed when they came out; Robert Quinn of the Rams raised his fist; seven Seahawks sat on the bench during the anthem; and the Cowboys’ David Irving raised his fist briefly during the anthem.
Irving apparently was trying to walk a narrow line, as owner Jerry Jones had promised anthem protesters would not play – he played.
This protest movement has been largely rejected by the fans. Predictably, after less than a month, almost all the players have moved on. But Goodell keeps polishing his politically correct image – at considerable cost to the NFL, and ultimately to the financial detriment of every NFL player and owner.
It’s hard to say who’s more hypocritical: Goodell or the billionaire owners (Robert Kraft chiefly crafted the deal) who agreed to pay a massive amount to Goodell over a seven-year period.
Never content to just criticize, I have a solution. Relieve Mr. Goodell from his post and hire a new commissioner – someone who truly loves the games and doesn’t play politics – for $1 million a year.
Then take the $293 million in savings and invest it in making actual improvements to our communities, instead of making Goodell an obscenely rich man. How does that make our communities better?
Postscript: It should be noted that Rob wrote this on Thursday, before it was reported that Houston Texans owner Bob McNair — who is pretty much the picture of an old, rich white man — said this about the national anthem protests: “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.”
Texans’ players reportedly almost walked out of practice on Friday. Running back D’Onta Foreman did leave and receiver DeAndre Hopkins didn’t show up. Both absences were related to the comment.
McNair has since apologized and met with the team. Houston plays at Seattle on Sunday and the team will reportedly have a team meeting there. Feelings are pretty raw.
Duane Brown on Bob McNair 'I think the comments were disrespectful and ignorant'
Duane Brown on comments 'It sickened me'
Duane Brown on Bob McNair 'I'm not surprised by it'
I don’t believe he is the only owner that feel that way… smh
It’s one thing to protest during the national anthem to bring attention to social issues. It’s another if you think the person you’re working for (and his brethren) is racist — and I’m not suggesting the Texans should protest that during the national anthem. But now the NFL has a bigger issue. I don’t have an exact numbers breakdown, but it’s pretty clear that the NFL is predominantly black and the fanbase is predominantly white.
It’s amazing that these two groups with totally different life experiences wouldn’t understand each other, isn’t it?
— Vaden Todd