It was arguably the Commissioner’s finest hour when, 11 days ago, he issued a statement responding to demands from NFL players following the murder of George Floyd. The President would argue that it was not Roger Goodell’s finest hour.
Appearing Wednesday night on FOX News, Donald Trump ripped Goodell for his statement to cap the latest banging of the drum regarding the effort to make standing for the anthem the 11th Commandment.
“When the national anthem plays and our flag, the great American flag, is raised, you should not be kneeling,” Trump told Sean Hannity. “You should be standing, ideally with your hand on your heart or saluting. But they should not be kneeling. They can protest enough, and I saw the NFL get very weak. I saw — Drew Brees is a warrior, a great, great quarterback. A fan of his, I’m a fan of his. I saw him make this beautiful statement and the next day he retracted the statement. He talked about his father and his grandfather fighting in the war for our country, our flag and then the next day he retracted it. I just don’t get that. But you have to stand when the flag goes up. And I think they’ll lose a lot of fans and a lot of support in the NFL. That already happened before. I thought they learned their lesson. But I think it’s gonna happen again.
“And I was surprised at Roger, Roger Goodell, that he would have done what he did and made the statement that he made. Nobody was even asking for it.”
Of course, the Goodell video was prepared specifically because a prominent group of players specifically asked for it. But at this point in the life cycle of the current administration fact checks have lost much of their zip.
The bigger point is that the President has renewed his intention to come after the NFL over the kneeling issue, and that he believes it will be a winner for him and a loser for the league. Regardless, it’s becoming more and more apparent that, this time around, the league won’t be backing down. Even if they won’t dare go on the offensive.