Amid backlash to President Donald Trump’s response to NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, the mainstream media handed the president a political victory without realizing it.
According to recent polling, most Americans agree that NFL players should not be allowed to take a knee during the national anthem. Doing so, the president says, is disrespectful to the American flag and to the men and women who have fought for this country. Supporters of the protests say players have every right to kneel for what they see as injustice. Others point out people also have the right to disagree.
Supporters of the protests say players have every right to kneel for what they see as injustice. Others have defended the players’ right to disagree.
Megyn Kelly, who now has a show on NBC, defended the First Amendment rights of all those speaking out on the issue, but her hour on Today largely played it straight when it came to the NFL controversy.
Several outlets, instead of recognizing the right of Trump and his supporters to voice their opinions, used the president’s comments to trash his character, his agenda and the very legitimacy of his presidency.
“It’s Not Every Day That A U.S. President Goes to War with American Sports,” a Sept. 26 headline from Sports Illustrated read. In the article, author S.L. Price said we “should have seen it coming” that Trump would oppose the protests given his comments about women captured on the 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape.
Trump “made it obvious that he regards the athletic world as morally bankrupt, and, just as alarming, simplistic,” Price wrote. “To Trump, the thought that players can both love their country and kneel during the national anthem as a means of pointing out social inequity is impossible.”
Newsweek ran a headline on Wednesday that said,“Donald Trump is back to being the least popular president ever after NFL tweets.” Despite embracing a stance supported by the overwhelming majority of Americans, Trump lost ground in the polls, according to Newsweek’s Chris Riotta.
“The decline appears to have started during the weekend, when Trump sparked controversy over his use of Twitter to condemn protests within the NFL against police brutality and racial inequality during televised national anthems at the beginnings of games,” Riotta wrote, without providing any correlation between the drop in the president’s approval numbers and the NFL protests.
Actually, Trump’s approval rating at Rasmussen stands at 43 percent, more or less what it has been for several weeks. Trump has taken heat for other things in this polling period – his response to Puerto Rico, his speech at the UN General Assembly and the crisis involving North Korea.
Then, finally, WJLA-TV reported that Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman responded to Trump, saying, “Just telling you right now, this man is not welcome here in Washington, D.C.” Norman added, I hope he don’t be around when I see him.”
A millionaire NFL player in the nation’s capital wants to ignore the will of American voters and send the president of the United States on his merry way. What Norman failed to recognize is that the same government that gives Norman and others the right to kneel is the same system that elected Trump commander-in-chief.
NFL protesters must either accept that, as Americans, we all have differences in opinion, or come to grips with the alternative: Most of the millions of Americans who watch NFL players every year simply don’t agree with them on this issue.