Video: Angry fans torch season tickets, merchandise over NFL anthem protests

Team merch is one thing, although it’s better off being donated to Goodwill than torched. But season tickets? For fark’s sake. Scalp them or put them on StubHub. If you can’t bear the thought of accepting compensation for ridding yourself of something so evil, donate the proceeds to a veterans’ group. Your Instagram video going viral can’t be worth as much to you as you paid for those seats.

Although … now that I look more closely at the clip below, is it Colts tickets that the guy’s burning? In that case, yeah, light ’em up.

I wonder if the president’s seen this video yet. It would cheer him up after last night’s humiliation in Alabama. The man knows what he’s doing with this NFL business:

But there was one part of the trip [to Alabama last week] that cheered him up, according to three people close to the president: rallygoers’ thunderous approval of his attack on Colin Kaepernick, a former N.F.L. quarterback, for kneeling in protest during the national anthem, a slam punctuated by an epithet-laced suggestion that team owners fire employees who disrespect patriotic tradition…

In private, the president and his top aides freely admit that he is engaged in a culture war on behalf of his white, working-class base, a New York billionaire waging war against “politically correct” coastal elites on behalf of his supporters in the South and in the Midwest. He believes the war was foisted upon him by former President Barack Obama and other Democrats — and he is determined to win, current and former aides said.

Is he winning the culture war over the NFL? Well, per Reuters, 58 percent agree with him that pro athletes should be required to stand for the anthem and 37 percent, including 67 percent of Republicans, say they’ve become less favorable to the NFL. The share that say they support the stance taken by Colin Kaepernick and other kneeling players is up 12 points from last year, though, from 28 percent then to 40 now. Trump’s entry into this debate is probably polarizing it along partisan lines; we may end up with less consensus now over anthem protests than we had before purely because Democrats are so reluctant to back him on a cultural hot-button. Also, when you ask if players should be *fired* for refusing to stand, the majority shifts: 57 percent say no, including 29 percent of Republicans, while 53 percent think that the president shouldn’t be comment publicly on how the NFL and its players act during the anthem. It’s safe to say the public supports POTUS in wanting players to stand, they just don’t agree that there should be a penalty for dissent.

This result is interesting too. The columns, from left to right, represent overall public opinion, Democrats, Republicans, and independents:

One criticism leveled at the protests is that public anger is not just about the anthem, it’s about employees dragging their politics into their place of business. Average Americans would never be allowed to get away with that. If this is accurate, though, a plurality are okay with athletes mixing politics with sports. It depends on the politics, of course, and on avoiding disrespect to the flag.

Mo Brooks said yesterday that the feds could bite back at the NFL for not disciplining players who refuse to stand for the anthem by halting advertising for the armed forces during games. The Pentagon might not be keen on that — there aren’t a ton of opportunities on TV to reliably reach a mostly male audience, and jeopardizing recruitment isn’t an obvious move to make when you’re otherwise busy yelling at Kaepernick for supposedly insulting the military. But it is a point of leverage, as are the lucrative subsidies teams receive from state and local governments for stadiums. I wonder how that would fare in court. Government normally can cut funding for basically any reason but not quite every reason. A court would have something to say, I assume, if Congress cut funds to a state for a nakedly bigoted purpose, e.g., because it had a large percentage of minorities. Courts have been more aggressive in the Trump era in scrutinizing the motives behind policies too, most famously in the case of the travel ban where federal judges looked at POTUS’s comments about Muslims as a candidate to find that the ban violates equal protection. If the Pentagon cut funds to the NFL over anthem protests and the league sued on grounds of viewpoint discrimination under the First Amendment, how would that case go? Straightforward matter of government not being required to subsidize speech with which it disagrees or would some judge reach to find a constitutionally impermissible motive?