NFL Opinion/Editorial Politics

Opinion: Why The NFL National Anthem Controversy Is A No-Win Scenario


As if the NFL didn’t have enough problems before this national anthem hogwash began. The plate was filled up by a commissioner with the public relations skills of a dung beetle before Colin Kaepernick first opened his mouth.

Not to mention the game faces issues like: A myriad of penalties that kill momentum and enjoyability of the game. A lack of special teams excitement. Domestic violence woes. Concussions.


Also, quite a few teams are about as entertaining as watching paint dry.

Not everybody can see how serious this is. Luckily I can and I’m telling you. The NFL is in a no-win scenario and is looking to survive because winning this is impossible. The reason being that political divides are so polar that there is no neutral stance. most no one can actually jump out of the proverbial box of emotions and junk and look at this neutrally. Look at it from a capitalistic point of view void of race, patriotism, and so-called free speech.

Again luckily I can because I can think like a business owner and a business like the NFL typically does not take political stances because potentially alienating any base of customers is bad for business. But again, the polarity of our society now combined with President Trump’s remarks have made it impossible for the NFL to play the middle.

They have to choose a side and that’s going to alienate people because the sides can’t even decide what the protest is about in the first place.

The liberals and those who side with them on this matter will yell about white privilege, oppression, black men who were gunned down by officers. Names like Eric Garner, Michael Brown, etc. They are led by the pro athletes who are supporting each other in part and a major leader is the whitest black I’ve ever seen in Shaun King who has openly called for black communities and other minorities to flat out refuse to watch until Colin Kaepernick is signed.

Sports anchor Jemele Hill, recently suspended by ESPN, basically said the same thing only she told fans to boycott the advertisers’ products.

The flip side of the coin is the conservatives and those who side with them. They will say that this isn’t just about the flag. It’s about ignorance and disrespect. It’s about seeing the most privileged men (some more than others depending on contracts) in America kneel or sit as a rebuke for the flag that symbolically stands for freedom and a quality of life that gives them their job, gave most of them a free scholarship education, adoration from men and women alike and they say that this country actually oppresses them?

This group is disgusted and tired of hearing racial issues in every mark of life. They are tired of listening to whiners attacking the country they love; whiners who they see with their hands out for welfare and other free materials etc.

This group is now led by President Trump and they want to watch good football and not talk about politics.

But here’s the real truth. Take away this if nothing else from this article. The single most important thing to remember is it really doesn’t matter what the protest is about because no matter what side/narrative the NFL takes, it is going to bleed.

It can tell players to stand or let it alone and viewers will stop watching and all of that hurts ratings. Ratings hurt advertisers. Advertisers then pay networks less money eventually because their ads aren’t being watched. Networks then tell NFL we will have to pay you less on the TV contract because the product is down in views. But whichever way they go, they’re going to lose fans and/or make a lot of the athletes mad.

Take conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh. Recently, for the first time in decades, he didn’t watch his favorite team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, play a game. He was disgusted that only their left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, stood for the anthem.

The truth is that Rush is not alone. Millions upon millions of his listening base (mostly caucasians so just imagine about a couple million Al Bundy’s from ‘Married with Children’) look around their lives and ask, “What privilege do I have?” and they watch football for the same reason they drink a beer. To take off the edge.

Now they see the players are kneeling and making it about politics. Now they are listening to ESPN just talk endlessly about it. So they’re cutting their cord and just not watching anymore. If the NFL doesn’t address the anthem in a way that makes that base of fans want to watch the games, the NFL is risking billions in future revenue.

On the flip side, a great number of the athletes lean liberal, so if the NFL sides with a conservative “stand for America” side and “fires” the “sons of b*******” as the president so eloquently* put it, there will be consequences. Imagine star players eventually going on strike and remember, the NFL’s Collective Bargaining agreement is less than five years away from being re-negotiated.

People keep seeing the NFL as a game, not a business.

So the narrative is that these teams are against athletes’ rights to speak. Well, as employees, no one has the ‘right’ to speak, but it won’t matter to the viewers. A liberal media won’t bother using logic to help the NFL try to stay neutral. ESPN’s Michael Wilpon has already compared Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to a slave owner.

Now I’m willing to bet that more conservative viewpoints watch the NFL than liberals, but the liberal side still has several million viewers that the game can potentially lose over this and again that hurts ratings. Ratings hurt advertisers. Advertisers then pay networks less money eventually because their ads aren’t being watched.

Networks then tell NFL we will have to pay you less on the TV contract because the product is down in views.

Cue the dramatic danger music and you get the picture. Lost $$$ is bad for any business and for one where Commissioner Roger Goodell has vocally stated he wants to get the revenues to more than double in the next 10 years (25 billion annually by 2027 or so), it’s even worse.

I think in their most private thoughts, the owners hate Kaepernick with a burning passion. Not because of what he said, mind you. I think it’s because he said anything. He took a controversial stance and the news media’s help, he polarized the game politically and now ESPN is resembling Fox News or CNN more than a sports network.

And the owners hate that. They had a perfect cash cow on Sundays; a fun escape from the tough realities of current events and now Kaepernick has infected it with a virus.

I know it’s a way’s away and I’m in no hurry to be proven right, but the revenue goal ain’t happening now. That I can tell you with certainty. The game was already struggling to make Thursday Night Football resonate and expand into Europe, but now their base of viewers will be truncated for the extended short term if not indefinitely by how it handles the national anthem fallout. This is going to cost a lot of money. To prove a point, this Cowboys fan has no inte

This anthem thing will hopefully (oh dear God I hope so) be resolved by 2018, but it’s quite possible it lingers and I think the damage has been done. The game has already struggled with the tolls and realities of its violent nature. It has with an apathetic oaf at commissioner who clearly only cares about making money.

Now politics has been thrown in and the poisonous polarity that enshrouds our elected officials daily has spread into previously mostly neutral world of sports. The NFL should’ve seen this coming with how athletes in general have responded to the president, but they weren’t proactive about it and now they’re in the middle of the battlefield.

No matter which way the NFL turns, they are going to lose somehow. Because mixing sports and politics is the definition of a no-win scenario.

*Relax, I’m being incredibly sarcastic

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