Sports writer Will Leitch thinks the NFL has no one to blame but itself for its anthem controversy.
“The NFL’s new anthem policy was the moment when the world of sports — at last — succumbed entirely to the stupidity of everything else happening right now,” he said. “The moment we stopped pretending there could ever be any sort of temporary recreational escape hatch from the daily sh*tshow that is real life.”
According to Leitch, it has always been impossible to separate sports from politics — and Trump has the ability to make every single of American life about him. So, it would make sense that we would eventually sanction NFL policies, with the help of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
“Roger Goodell has 32 bosses, the NFL owners, and his only job is to make them happy by keeping the money train rolling,” said Leitch. “Goodell thus handles the commissioner job like a crisis management publicist rather than a CEO. He’s perpetually laying low until the storm passes.”
Goodell acting as a “reactionary” agent rather than a “causation” one, allows to him to appease his bosses while treating people like Colin Kaepernick as problems that will go away if he pretends it’s not there. But when Kaepernick and his stance didn’t go away, the NFL was blasted by both Democrats, Republicans and Trump himself for different reasons.
Goodell believes the anthem policy was passed to try and get Trump to leave the league alone — but that the league will end up being worse off because of the it — and more tied to Trump’s politics than ever.