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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 9/27/17

Trump/NFL political theater: who's winning?

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NFL anthem protests
NFL anthem protests
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Who's protesting what?

Players are standing up with arms locked, they're sitting, they're kneeling, they're staying in the locker room during the National Anthem, a few owners have come out of their high offices to join with the players on the field, the networks are suddenly airing the pre-game Anthem because TV viewers want to see the protests and it's all about ratings and ad revenues; viewership for the games is down, one quarterback who stayed with his team in the locker room confessed he wanted to be out on the field and didn't want to be known for protesting the Anthem, Trump praised fans in the stands for booing the players, it's a party, a circus, it's theater, so who's winning?

According to counts and a survey, 70% of NFL players are black, and 83% of NFL fans are white.

One biracial player, Colin Kaepernick, started the whole business by kneeling during the National Anthem, to protest police brutality against black people.

Colin Kaepernick's original message, whatever you may think of it, has exploded into pieces all over the landscape. Now people are talking about the flag, the Anthem, patriotism, the veterans, ungrateful millionaire athletes, "unity," the League, the Commissioner, racism in general, and Trump as a slavemaster according to Jesse Jackson.

But don't worry. We're assured these football protests are part of engaging in a "national dialogue on race."

How many times have we heard that one before?

What dialogue? The whole country is going to assemble in the geographical center of America and begin talking earnestly to one another?

Yes, Trump is "energizing his base," as they say. But he's also gleefully attacking the NFL team owners, some of whom were/are his pals. He likes that kind of theater. He's sticking the owners with the nasty job of defending the players. If the owners remain silent and go away and hide, they'll be seen as racists. That's not a good look. So a few of them appeared on football fields Sunday, "standing in solidarity" with their teams. Now they can run away and hide.

"Jeeves, tell my pilot to gas up the jet. I've done my duty. We're heading to the Cape. Let the staff know they'll have to open up the summer house again""

Trump also wants his enemies everywhere to understand he's willing to attack anyone, even the rich owners of NFL franchises. Fallout, no fallout, he doesn't care.

So today, a Pittsburgh Steeler offensive tackle few people have ever heard of, a decorated ex-Army Ranger, Alejandro Villanueva, is the most popular player in the League, because he didn't stay in the locker room with the rest of his team during the playing of the National Anthem. He came outside and made himself visible on the field. Suddenly, his jersey has shot up to number one on the best seller list of NFL merchandise.

That 80% of white fans are buying it.

This is supposed to be part of the "national dialogue," too?

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Jon Rappoport has worked as a free-lance investigative reporter for over 30 years. He has written articles on politics, health, media, culture and art for LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, Village Voice, Nexus, CBS Healthwatch, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe.

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