Opinion: NFL national anthem debate will ultimately help the president politically
EDITOR'S NOTE: Boris Epshteyn formerly served as a Senior Advisor to the Trump Campaign and served in the White House as Special Assistant to The President and Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations.
WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) Politics is everywhere, that now includes football. One of the biggest stories this year is NFL players protesting during the national anthem.
The players have given a multitude of reasons for their actions, mostly centered over racial injustice.
The issue was elevated when President Trump harshly criticized the protests.
The president focused this discussion around patriotism and is therefore on very firm political ground with his constituents, the American people.
Polls - including the Associated Press, CBS news, and Reuters – show that a majority of Americans believe athletes should stand for the anthem.
Now, it appears that the NFL is finally listening to its customers, the fans, and the president who speaks for our country.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to all 32 teams stating, “we believe that everyone should stand for the national anthem.” The owners of the Cowboys and the Dolphins have already made clear that players on their teams will not play if they do not stand for the anthem. The owners as a whole are going to discuss a league wide rule mandating that players stand for the anthem.
Here is the bottom line: the political result of this debate will be a strengthening of the president’s support, not just among his base, but the large majority of Americans who are extremely patriotic.
I will tell you first hand that the president is authentically, truly bothered when our flag, anthem, military or country are disrespected. Standing up for our national symbols will be immensely helpful to the president and Republican Party as a whole this year, in next year’s midterm elections, and all the way through 2020.