Skip to comments.NFL Owners Donít Fear Trump, They Fear Their Own Players
Posted on 06/15/2018 10:21:22 AM PDT by iowamark
In 1969, NFL linebacker Dave Meggyesy walked away from the NFL in disgust over the way he believed football was acting as a reactionary social force in society, an impediment against meaningful social change. In his book Out of Their League, he wrote, Politics and pro football are the most grotesque extremes of a dying empire.
In 1975, sportswriter Robert Lipsyte had a similar analysis of not just football but sports as a whole. He wrote in his classic book SportsWorld: An American DreamLand:
"A great deal of the angry energy generated in America through the coming apart of the 1960s was absorbed by SportsWorld in its various roles as socializer, pacifier, safety valve; as a concentration camp for adolescents and an emotional Disney Land for their parents. SportsWorld is a buffer, a DMZ [demilitarized zone] between people and the economic and political systems that direct their lives."
These quotes have been crawling under my scalp in the aftermath of the decision by the National Football League to fine teams if their players do not show proper respect during the national anthem. Much of the analysis of this by righteously rageful critics of ownership is that this decision was a capitulation to Donald Trump; that these billionaire masters of the universe fear Trump; they fear the hive-mind control he has over his political base and its ability to collectively hurt ratings, attendance, and bottom line profits. NFL owners, this critique goes, want to get their league out of Donald Trumps mouth at all costs, so they meekly submitted to his wishes. Evidence of their weakness in the face of his bullying bombast was seen, as football scribe Melissa Jacobs pointed out, in the pathetic spectacle of Roger Goodell saying absolutely nothing when the Super Bowl champs, the politically active Philadelphia Eagles, were disinvited to the White House by Trump, even though not one Eagles player took a knee during the anthem last season in protest of racial inequity and police violence. It was, Jacobs correctly points out, an unabashed embarrassment that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver spoke out immediately in defense of socially engaged athletes while Goodell remained silent.
Yet I disagree with the analysis that this new rancid policy of coercive patriotism was enacted because NFL owners are in full surrender to Donald Trump. Yes, they are afraidvery afraidbut it is not fear of the orange golem in the White House that has driven this new policy. It is fear of political athletes. It is fear of labor. It is a fear not rooted in a loss of profitsthe Carolina Panthers just sold for over $2 billion, for goodness sakebut in a loss of control.
The NFL is supposed to be, as Lipsyte writes a buffer, and a concentration camp for adolescents and a Disney Land for adults. Instead, we are seeing footballof all thingsas a center of the rebellion against both our racist system of police violence and mass incarceration as well as resistance to Donald Trump. By taking knees during the anthem, the kids in the concentration camps and the performers in the Adult Disneyland are doing more than showcasing a political resistance. They are brashly and boldly displaying an independence from what they are supposed to be doing. They are refusing to be a buffer. They are rejecting the idea that they will be part of the theatrics of a dying empire. Instead, they are living by the credo set forth by Muhammad Ali, who said, I dont have to be what you want me to be. This is polarizing, enraging in some quarters, and political red meat for Trumps frothing base. But for NFL owners, the threat is far more daunting: To them, its players refusing to be mere extensions of equipment on the field or robots advancing the ball. Its players noticing, as Michael Bennett of the Eagles has written, that the league is not in fact integrated. Its segregated, with mostly black bodies taking all the risk, pain, and traumatic brain injury, while an almost entirely white ownership class reaps the rewards. NFL owners are willing to look soft and foolish. They are willing to look like Trump lackeys. They are willing to be mocked if it accomplishes a broader objective: making sports be again a demilitarized zone between people and their lives. Their aims are nothing less than to stop, by any means necessary, the invasion of the real worldwith all its racism, injustice, and creeping authoritarianisminto the sports world. If these owners have to be racist, unjust, and authoritarian to accomplish these aims, then so be it, irony be damned.
This is the code red: The players are tasting independence as well as a sense of their own power, and that cannot be tolerated, no matter who is in the White House.
Rush was just talking about this essay on the NFL.
The NFL should not be afraid of who is President. They should be afraid of losing paying customers (aka fans). Without the Fans the NFL can not exist...
Yup. Just heard it.
I've already quit the NFL for life...anyway.
If anything, this national anthem charade demonstrates just how dumb those players are. They'll make a huge deal over something as inconsequential in their lives as "Black Lives Matter" and standing for the national anthem before a football game ... while at the same time their union leadership negotiates collective bargaining agreements with the owners that have long been the worst in pro sports.
The NFL owners are just biding their time for now. When the CBA expires in 2020, a very clear provision is going to be written into the new agreement that explicitly lays out the rules for player conduct during the national anthem.
NFL = No F*****g Loyalty
Yes, I agree! They can all protest themselves to the poor house!
This is the type of leftism that works so well for Trump. Yeah, black NFL players are the victims here, right. Cue the tiny violins . . .
Just not that into it anymore.
One thing is certain, the NFL believes Convenience Store Clerks lives DO NOT MATTER!
They had best fear their customers, the fans, from whence their money comes................
I think what the owners fear now is that they bought a franchise for X-amount, and there’s no way that the price paid five years ago or even 20 years ago....would work in today’s environment.
Lipsyte is the absolute worst. He is Eugene Robinson, Mo Dowd, Mike Lupica and Nancy Pelosi constantly trashing the very subject he is ostensibly paid to write about. He is the epitome of NY conceit and disdain for anything west of Manhattan.
When the CBA expires in 2020, a very clear provision is going to be written into the new
agreement that explicitly lays out the rules for player conduct during the national anthem.
All they have to do is copy the NBA rule. It is very specific as to the
National Anthem and how the players/coaches/etc are to respond.
It’s all about their upcoming CBA. They fear the NFLPA more than their fans.
All articles about Trump and the NFL are dumb.
It is the fans vs the NFL owners.
If the NFL owners don’t figure it out their billions will turn into dust.
And if most of these players weren’t on that field every Sunday what would they be doing? Coaching highschool football? Yeah, I’m sure that pays the millions they need to buy their mansions and parties. Without the NFL it would be welcome to the real world for most of them so they’d be just working stiffs like the rest of us. They can kneel during the national anthems in their work cubes...
College ball starts in a little more than two months.
“And if most of these players werent on that field every Sunday what would they be doing?”
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