The NFL Anthem Protest seemed to have subsided in intensity, but it bit America again today.
“A protest (also called a remonstrance, remonstration or demonstration) is an expression of bearing witness on behalf of an express cause by words or actions with regard to particular events, policies or situations.”
Today in Indianapolis at a game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Indianapolis Colts, Colt future NFL Hall of Famer Peyton Manning watched as his jersey number was retired. Vice President Mike Pence — former Indiana Governor — attended the game to honor Peyton. When several 49er players took a knee in protest during the National Anthem, the Vice President left the game and did not return. The Media has gone nuts in the aftermath of the VP’s “protest of the protest.”
The New York Times: “Trump Tells Pence to Leave N.F.L. Game as Players Kneel During Anthem”
The New York Daily News: “The White House may have fumbled its own offense against the NFL”
FOX News Cincinnati: “The Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers played in front of a smaller crowd after a national anthem protest Sunday”
It is no surprise that the NY Times — that daily attacks “all things” Donald Trump — blamed the President for the Vice President’s actions. Why did Vice President Pence decide to walk-out? In his own words (unfiltered by any media editors): “”I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our flag or our national anthem.”
What are NFL Players Protesting?
I’ve asked this question before. Americans ask it every Sunday, and there’s no clear response. NFL players have always in past demonstrations, strikes, and walkouts been crystal clear with what their purposes and intentions were for taking those actions. They’ve always been for more money, better retirement, and more money. (Did I say “more money?”)
I will not spend a bunch of time re-stating the few reasons several of the NFL Anthem Protestors have given for their protests. In previous offerings here I have done so. Let me simply give the totality of all possible protest reasons I have been through research been able to to get to: they really don’t have any substantive reasons. And (in my opinion) the reason they continue their protest is that if they suddenly quit now, all of America would ask the question, “Why did they stop?” Whatever they are protesting for has obviously not changed so they cannot stop without being horrendously vilified for doing so or labeled hypocrites for protesting without a cause. Remember: from the definition of “Protest” above, a protest “is an expression of bearing witness on behalf of an express cause by words or actions with regard to particular events, policies or situations.” As of today, that “express cause” does not exist. So more Americans by the millions to the chagrin of the NFL are dialing out of televised games and leaving game tickets at the office and not looking in on their “previously” favorite NFL team. And NFL owners are scared to death.
NFL Fan Protests
The NFL just doesn’t understand. Fans do not participate in the minutia of NFL operations. Fans do not understand the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and the choke-hold that labor agreement has on the NFL, its owners, and the NFL game itself. Fans just want to watch professional football. Owners, however, now have two guns at their heads: one by the NFL Players Association/NFL Players and one by NFL fans. The Union/Players being in virtual control of the game, their gun is bigger than that of fans — at least for now. Everyone knows that without players on the field, there will be no NFL games. Of course there are really good football players all across North America that would love a shot at playing the NFL game if NFL players went on strike or simply walked out. But in previous strikes and walkouts the only ones that win are the Union and Lawyers. Players and fans drew the short straw in those.
The linchpin that holds these groups and individuals together is the almighty dollar. NFL revenues are unfathomable to Middle Americans and even to most American elitists. And the NFL spares little expense at protecting their asset. The NFL spends twice what the other three major sports combined spend with their lobbying firm in D.C. to protect the tax advantages they have that feed the NFL Money Machine. The NFL was granted anti-trust status to prevent massive anti-trust lawsuits to break up the league. If you remember, Microsoft spent millions over the years fighting such anti-trust litigation — dollars that NFL teams and players get to keep.
What should the REAL NFL Protest be?
It should be by the fans. Why? Check these out:
- Did you know we taxpayers pay 70% of the capital cost of NFL stadiums instead of by the NFL or NFL owners;
- Did you know NFL teams actually make PROFITS on those stadiums AFTER we pay for 70% of the costs? This includes the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, San Diego Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Tennessee Titans. In my state of Louisiana, former Governor Jindal cut a deal with the New Orleans Saints and pays them $6 million a year to STAY IN NEW ORLEANS!
- Did you know the NFL is a Tax-exempt entity that pays NO income taxes on its billions of dollars in revenue? The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the 10-year cost to the taxpayer of the NFL tax exemption is about $109 million;
- How about those NFL television dollars? FOX, CBS, and NBC combined pay the NFL $27 Billion for NFL broadcast rights from 2014-2022; ESPN pays them $15 Billion for 2014-2021; and DirecTV pays them $12 Billion for 2015-2022. THAT’S $54BILLION!
You would think paying such huge dollars for sports entertainment value would bring with it first class participants with not only first class football sports abilities, but also first class at being examples in our communities to children and adults alike. Not so: From 2000-2017, 218 NFL players have been arrested for D.U.I. charges, 100 for Drug violations, 98 for Domestic Abuse, 74 for Assault,44 for Disorderly Conduct, and 34 for Gun Violations.
Those numbers really get nasty when you understand this: David Wells — Dallas Cowboys “Crisis Manager” — says that these numbers above represent less than 10% of the actual such incidents NFL players have been involved in that team and league personnel in roles similar to his have been able to get law enforcement to sweep under the rug.
It makes my skin crawl when I see or hear Leftist Media hacks reach out in supposed support of NFL players protesting. They too do not have a clue or reason for doing so. They simply want to be part of the “in-crowd” and so give their support. Of course, the President weighing in as he did so demonstratively shaming the NFL for allowing players to denigrate the Anthem and the Flag only pours gasoline on the fire of the Left. Simply because Trump doesn’t like the protests, they go all-in with their support.
But most Americans don’t.
What’s going to happen? One of two things: First, the “horse is out of the barn,” and the NFL does not know how to get it back in its stall. There’s no way to stop this charade without someone or a bunch of people looking really stupid. And the reputation of the NFL for decades has been protected at all costs — including whatever the costs really are in dollars. There is no easy answer for them in this. If they now turn on the Players, it will head them down a road full of landmines they do not want to face. The second possibility is to actually find a way to best minimize the damage, reconcile some way with the players that will allow players to save face, and with that let the NFL take whatever hit will happen in the professional sports arena. Neither is a good option. Either will cost plenty.
Regarding lost revenue: I’ll refer you to a statement years ago when oil billionaire H.L. Hunt was asked about losses by his son Lamar in his operations of the Kansas City Chiefs. At that time it was reported Lamar was losing $1 million a year. H.L. was asked by a Dallas reporter how long could Lamar continue at the pace of those losses. H.L. responded, “About one hundred years.”
Financial losses are always relative, and the NFL has a lot of money. But the NFL has a lot of expenses. Player salary cap is $160 million per team this year. And it climbs to $200 million annually in the next few years. That alone is $6.4 Billion per year for the 32 teams combined.
How long would/will the NFL let revenues fall as they are now and will certainly continue as long as this Protest impasse exists? Who knows. But what I do know is that it needs to stop today. Why? Based on all the numbers above and factoring in the $400-$600 Americans spend taking their families to one NFL game per season means the game actually belongs to Americans. Owners need to understand and respect that. The NFL needs to understand and respect that. And those players getting down on that knee during the Anthem who do not know any realistic cause for doing so need to understand and respect that.
If they don’t, I’ll have to learn soccer rules.