NFL may lose bigly with social justice antics
It's DEFCON 1 this weekend – not between the U.S. and North Korea, despite the battle of insults between "Dotard" President Donald Trump and "Rocket Man" Kim Jong-un. Instead, the war is between the president and the sports world, specifically the NFL and NBA. It led the Drudge Report on Saturday.
Since when have professional sports become political? Long before Trump moved into the White House. The NFL is famous for its activism. Support for Black Lives Matter after Ferguson. Solidarity with Trayvon Martin. Lectures from Bob Costas – not on the upcoming game, but on gun control or global warming. Now it's disrespecting the National Anthem by taking a knee or sitting down. Colin Kaepernick popularized this before Trump was president. It's activism is spreading through the NFL and beyond, even to eight-year-old football players in Illinois.
NFL TV ratings are down. The 49ers and Rams played to a half-empty stadium, despite selling tickets for $14, less than the price of a hot dog and a beer. Declining advertising revenue is predicted to cost networks $200 million, a number likely to increase. As Rick Moran wrote recently in American Thinker, "Have we ever seen a pro sports league self-destruct? Stay tuned."
President Trump, true to form, demonstrating why he was elected, is taking on the NFL in the same aggressive manner as the way he is going after Rocket Man and North Korea. Realizing that most American adults disapprove of recent NFL antics, Trump is effectively utilizing several of Saul Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals." Specifically, "ridicule is man's most potent weapon." And "a good tactic is one your people enjoy."
In his recent speech in Huntsville, Alabama, Trump said, "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners? When somebody disrespects our flag, you'd say, 'Get that son of a b---- off the field right now. Out! He's fired." Boom. Ridicule. His supporters, tired of the unpatriotic, virtue-signaling NFL, cheer someone verbalizing what they have been feeling. Trump is forcing already unpopular NFL commissioner Roger Goodell into zone defense, whining about Trump's "divisive comments."
Divisive? Really? Most Americans already disapprove of the NFL's posturing and preening. Instead, the NFL is doubling down on its losing formula, hastening its self-destruction.
The media, the left, and #NeverTrumps are predictably and perpetually outraged. Here is Trump the rube, once again venturing into something he knows nothing about. Is that so? They likely don't remember that Donald Trump owned a USFL football team, the New Jersey Generals, for a few years in the 1980s. Did anyone else running for president in 2016 own a professional football team? Hillary Clinton's only professional football experience was pushing the Washington Redskins to change their name.
Trump understands who his supporters are – and who NFL fans are. Apparently, Roger Goodell does not. NFL fans happen to mirror Trump supporters quite closely. Note the Scarborough Research chart below.
NFL fans lean Republican and turn out to vote, just like Trump supporters. Is it any wonder Trump's comments are resonating among his base? Seems most NFL fans are among Mrs. Clinton's "deplorables." Further alienating them is bad business for the NFL.
The Democrat-leaning NBA may fare better going to war with President Trump. Stephen Curry, not wanting to visit the White House, was disinvited by Trump, followed by the entire team disinviting themselves. Time will tell if such posturing hurts the NBA as it will the NFL.
The NFL is learning that its right-leaning fan base will find other weekend activities that are far less expensive than overpriced NFL tickets. There is plenty to watch on TV besides NFL games: Netflix. Amazon Prime. A good book. A walk through the neighborhood. Tuning out Roger Goodell and his league of malcontents will not be difficult.
College football is even more right-leaning, as are the Olympics. Ditto for MLB and the NHL. It will be interesting to see if they have the sense to stick to sports rather than social justice.