The President possibly has accomplished the unthinkable: Getting the NFL’s players to align behind their Commissioner.
On Saturday evening, President Trump issued another message on Twitter regarding the anthem issue, taking aim at the statement issued by Commissioner Roger Goodell on Saturday morning.
“Roger Goodell of NFL just put out a statement trying to justify the total disrespect certain players show to our country,” Trump said. “Tell them to stand!”
Said Goodell on Saturday, in response to the urging of President Trump to remove from the field “that son of a bitch” who kneels or sits for the anthem: “The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture. There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we’ve experienced over the last month. Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.”
Apart from the fact that the NFL’s rules prevent the Commissioner from issuing any such mandate, the repeated efforts by President Trump to order the players to stand could have the opposite effect. And that could be exactly what he wants, sparking more protests and in turn generating more reaction from the President and his supporters.
It sets the stage for what could be a memorable Sunday of games, for reasons other than football.