The President’s attempt to paint the NFL into a corner may eventually work.
But they want to have a little paint on their hands if it does.
The league responded to Donald Trump’s latest morning salvo, which said he was glad “the NFL is finally demanding” that players stand for the national anthem.
“Commentary this morning about the commissioner’s position on the anthem is not accurate,” the league said in a statement. “As we said yesterday, there will be a discussion of these issues at the owners meeting next week. The NFL is doing the hard work of trying to move from protest to progress, working to bring people together.
“Commissioner Goodell spent yesterday with Miami Dolphins players, law enforcement and community leaders witnessing first-hand the outstanding work our players and clubs are doing to strengthen their communities. Players from around the league will be in New York next week to meet with owners to continue our work together.”
The NFL is in a tricky spot. They can save to public pressure, which the President continues to apply, and risk alienating their labor pool. Or they can straddle the line and risk alienating some of their hard-line customers. The plan at the moment seems to be to try to buy the players’ cooperation with some degree of public platform for social activism, though there’s no guarantee that’s going to work.