By: ALEX POLETTI
If there is one thing sacred in America, it’s the National Football League. Sunday is the holy day, quite possibly because of the 12 games we so adherently watch. That’s one thing all voters—evangelists, minorities, liberals—have in common: a love for America’s greatest game.
This is what makes Trump’s comments toward the NFL so problematic for any future campaign hopes. If the president’s approval rating weren’t dwindling enough, now he’s calling for our favorite players to be fired? People love Matt Ryan more than his brother Paul.
It’s hard to gauge exactly what impact the NFL has on the life of the everyday American, and by extent Trump supporters. New York Times and CBS Sports articles seem to suggest that football is widely popular in the South and Midwest—shocking, I admit. This also happens to be where a large amount of Trump supporters conglomerate.
Trump is already unpopular with liberals, so is it a good idea to pit conservatives’ support against the love for their favorite team?
Just how popular is the NFL? About 112 million people watched Super Bowl 50, while around 128 million people voted in the 2016 presidential election. That’s a 1:1.14 ratio, which doesn’t bode well for the POTUS.
What started with a few players became a league-wide protest. Thirty-one out of thirty-two teams engaged in protests—the exception being the Carolina Panthers. However, according to a CBS Sports article, some Panther players are trying to get in on the action as well.
Even Tom Brady—Tom Brady, his BFF!—linked arms to stand in solidarity with his teammates. Moreover, the New England quarterback spoke to the presses about his disagreement with the president’s statements.
It is true that the protests have not been extremely popular with fans; the Patriots were booed during the National Anthem of their week three game for being, ironically, unpatriotic. But are we truly to believe Americans will abandon their beloved teams? Absolutely not.
What’s more, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released an official statement backing the players, as did the MLB. This could be war.
And remember, there’s an impeachment process to get rid of presidents, but there’s no way to get rid of the league. We’ve had 45 presidents, but only one NFL. If you put J.J. Watt against Donald Trump, it seems clear who is going to get sacked.