Although Washington cornerback Josh Norman and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers may not see eye-to-eye when it comes to compensation for the men who throw footballs, they agree on one point that has become very important to the NFL in recent days.
Rodgers has said that the league and the players should ignore President Donald J. Trump as he continues to throw shade and/or tweets at the NFL over the anthem issue. Norman, in comments to Kevin Clark of TheRinger.com, has provided the same advice to the league, in more colorful fashion.
“You continue to do what you do, because guess what?” Norman said. “You have a product, and that product is f–king banking. It’s the no. 2 product in the world outside of soccer — you cannot beat it. Those checks will keep coming regardless of what you do. I wouldn’t tell them to do a f–king thing. This guy is going to out of office in two years. I think we’ll be OK. Trust me: The accounts will be fine. I wouldn’t put emphasis on it. Because the fans are going [to] come. It’s not like you’ve got scabs on the field like in 1987. So what if it’s a down year? Who gives a f–k? Next year you’ll be great. It’s not going to catastrophically disappear because one guy said something.”
While Norman is right that the NFL should simply ignore the President, those who assume he’ll be out of office in two years probably also assumed he wouldn’t be in office in the first place. Likewise, Norman’s take overlooks the reality that Trump has discovered political plutonium by accident, giving others of a similar ideology a button to repeatedly press as needed.
So whether it’s the current president or the next one or the one after that, for as long as any NFL players protest during the anthem, a prominent politician will call them and the league out for it. Because it works.
Even if it doesn’t actually impact the league’s bottom line (and there’s still no evidence that it has or will), it rallies a base and/or provides a convenient distraction whenever and wherever a convenient distraction is needed. Which means that attacks and catcalls from those in office or hoping to be in office will be part of the NFL’s new normal, regardless of whether Donald J. Trump is or isn’t sitting in the Oval Office.