It’s time for the NFL to stop letting Donald Trump bully them on the anthem issue.
They should get together with the NFL Players Association and issue a statement saying the NFL and the union set the league policies according to what they feel is best for the owners and the players without outside interference.
That would be a reference to Trump without mentioning his name.
They then should announce the two sides have agreed that the players have the right to peacefully protest before and after the games.
They would only prohibit protests during the game.
Since nobody was protesting during the game, the players should be able to live with that.
Of course, Trump would continue to fire off tweets trying to use the NFL as a punching bag to his base, but so what?
Mark Murphy, the Green Bay Packers president, said the protests had no effect on their bottom line after the Packers announced record revenue last season.
And the declining TV ratings, which could get a bump from legalized gambling, have nothing to do with the protests. TV ratings are down for all programming, and the NFL is still the most popular TV programming.
The NFL has to stop being afraid of Trump. The more you appease a bully, the more he is emboldened to continuing the bullying. That is what bullies do.
The NFL should send a message that it is ignoring Trump. And make it clear to any fans who complain that this is America and Americans have the right to peaceful protests.
But will the NFL do the right thing? Don’t be surprised if they don’t. They have managed to botch this issue time and time again.
Their last attempt saying the players could stay in the locker room during the anthem, but had to stand if they came on the field, was universally panned. And they did it without the input of the players.
Will they do better this time now that they are talking to the players?
We’ll soon find out. But at the very least, they should stop letting Trump bully them.