Three weeks ago today, President Donald Trump took the anthem controversy to a new level by essentially ordering players to stand for it — and implicitly challenging them not to. The ongoing assault from the Commander-in-Chief has left the league in a tizzy, with the NFL initially hoping that the President would move on to something else and now hoping to finally resolve the issue, as soon as next week at a previously-scheduled ownership meeting.
Not many owners have publicly criticized the President for his effort to politicize this issue. Jaguars owner Shad Khan recently did.
“You have to give Trump credit, people are confused on the First Amendment versus patriotism, that if you exercise your First Amendment you’re not a patriot, which is crazy,” Khan said Thursday at an executive conference presented by Crain’s Who’s Who in Chicago Business. “People are confused on it, [Trump] knew he could hit on it and take advantage. I think what we’re seeing is the great divider overcoming the great uniter.”
Khan, who donated $1 million to President Trump’s inaugural committee, clearly disagrees with the idea that exercising First Amendment rights is inconsistent with the concept of patriotism. The problem is that many agree with Khan, and many disagree with him.
Regardless of who’s right and who’s wrong, Khan sees a permanent shift in the way things work.
“Politics and the Western World will never be the same again,” Khan said. “A lot of the stuff like football [that] Trump does is highly calculated — he looks for issues that you can touch and it will blow people up.”
Whether the President’s strategy regarding the NFL was “highly calculated” in this case, the effort definitely has blown things up for the NFL. And the league has been unable to clean up the mess, so far.