We should let players run the NFL. Then maybe we wouldn’t still be talking about the national anthem.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said the league should ignore President Donald Trump’s mean tweets as it pertains to players demonstrating during the national anthem. He was right. Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman followed that up with some colorful common sense about what the NFL should do about Trump.
Norman thinks the NFL should ignore him too. He is also right.
Josh Norman explains how the NFL should handle Trump
Someone should frame what Norman told The Ringer’s Kevin Clark about the anthem issue, and place it in an easy-to-find spot in the NFL’s offices. Because it’s blunt and the most accurate explanation of why the NFL is screwing up by trying to appease a president that has already told the owners, correctly, that criticizing players demonstrating during the national anthem is a “winning, strong issue” for him with his supporters.
“You continue to do what you do, because guess what. You have a product, and that product is f—ing banking,” Norman told The Ringer. “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—ing thing. This guy is going to [be] 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 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—? Next year you’ll be great. It’s not going to catastrophically disappear because one guy said something.”
You cannot possibly put the issue into any simpler terms. Norman is spot on. The NFL has an incredible product and keeps taking attention away from it.
The anthem overshadowing the NFL yet again
Of course, the NFL owners screwed this all up. Why, with so many fascinating topics surrounding the NFL this preseason, is the national anthem overshadowing everything again? It’s mind-numbing that this is happening for a third straight season.
The NFL enacted a policy that nobody liked, in which players had to stand for the anthem or stay in the locker room, and it was so poorly received that they had to put a hold on it while they discussed it with the NFLPA. Trump still ripped the league anyway, which is exactly what he predicted he would do when he famously told Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (via the Wall Street Journal) about the anthem issue, “This one lifts me.” Everyone knew this was coming when the NFL enacted its policy in May, except the NFL.
Whether Norman is right about his proclamation that Trump will be out of office in two years remains to be seen, but the rest makes sense. The NFL has the most popular and profitable sports league in American history. Other than greed over not wanting to give back even a few dollars of the several billion it makes, there was no reason to overreact to criticism. As Norman said, the product is [expletive] banking.
Of course, there’s irony in Rodgers and Norman saying the NFL should ignore Trump. There’s a good chance Trump catches wind of Norman’s statements and responds — “This one lifts me” and all — and the cycle will start again.
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