Reeling from an ongoing assault over the national anthem, the NFL is trying to make people understand that the situation has become a political issue. NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart addressed that position during a Thursday media briefing, accusing “political forces” of “distorting the views” of the league, the owners, and its players.
As to the specific allegation from President Trump that owners are “afraid” of players and the idea that owners reached out to political leaders to spark this issue, Lockhart said, “They’re not accurate. They’re not factual. But I’m not going to get in the business of fact-checking, so I’ll leave it there.”
Lockhart added that the league’s owners are “united in a sense that the attacks on the game, on the NFL, on the players were unfair and unfounded,” and that owners realize the issues “are being obscured and distorted by people with political agendas.”
He’s right, and there’s no reason to think the attacks will be ending soon. Because the attacks have successfully gathered public and media attention, and they’ve successfully mobilized a base of individuals who hadn’t reacted nearly as strongly to an issue that had been hiding in plain sight for more than a year.