On Wednesday, the National Football League denied it had conceded to President Trump and forbade players to kneel for the National Anthem, reports CNN.
But the NFL is yet to implement official regulations that would demand the players to stand. However, with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones warning to bench players who are “disrespecting the flag,” President Trump’s winning streak continues, and neither the NFL nor ESPN know how to fight him.
“If there’s anything that is disrespectful to the flag, then we will not play,” said Jones after the Cowboys lost to the Green Bay Packers by a 35-31 score. “Understand? We will not … if we are disrespecting the flag, then we will not play. Period.”
On Monday, ESPN displayed signs of backing down by suspending SportsCenter host Jemele Hill who has criticized Trump on Twitter after “a second violation of our social media guidelines.” The instigating posts came as an answer to Jones’ comments when she suggested that fans unhappy with his remarks ought to stop lining his pockets.
“If you strongly reject what Jerry Jones said, the key is his advertisers. Don’t place the burden squarely on the players,” Jemele Hill tweeted.
Prior to his team’s game during the weekend, Stephen Ross, the owner of the Miami Dolphins, posited that President Trump had completely changed the perspective of the dispute with the NFL, and had misrepresented the athletes’ protests against police brutality and racism against black Americans.
Mr. Trump had “changed that whole paradigm of what protest is,” argued Ross, according to a report in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “And I think it’s incumbent upon the players today, because of how the public is looking at it, to really stand and really salute the flag.”
As we recently reported, besides owners, the league’s top broadcaster, ESPN, has also been succumbing to the pressure.
Stephen Smith of ESPN said recently that President Donald Trump has “successfully hijacked” the issue with NFL players who protest the national anthem, suggesting the reason was due to the league denying him the privilege of joining them in the 1980s, The Hill reported.
Smith believes Trump has deliberately started the dispute with the NFL to retaliate for not being allowed to become an owner of one of its teams.
“In the end what it really really comes down to is the president has successfully hijacked this issue. He’s turned it into an issue about patriotism and beyond, he’s catering to his base in the process and the biggest thing he’s doing is he’s pulling it all off hiding behind these issues when, in my opinion, his real agenda is going after an NFL community that didn’t let him in that ‘good ole boys club,’” Smith said.
“He is the one that’s winning because he’s turned this into something that the players didn’t intend to. So they’re going to have to find a different mechanism to have their voices heard because Trump has won this round.”
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