Something from the weekend in case you missed it. I’m in a small minority in believing this but, to me, this is the worst bit of PR damage that the NFL’s sustained over the anthem protests to date. Most people would say that Trump attacking the league was the worst, and in a sense that’s true. Trump pitting himself against the kneeling players was a signal to Republicans to tune the games out or at least to view the NFL less favorably, and it’s worked like a charm. No private enterprise wants an enemy in the president, even an unpopular one. That’s a test of loyalties, and Trump supporters are exceptionally loyal.
Trump’s disapproval moved the needle more than Scully’s did, no doubt. But Trump is ultra-polarizing, enough so that there’s reason to believe his disapproval of the anthem protests made some undecideds more sympathetic to them. Scully is the opposite of polarizing, universally beloved by three generations of Americans who grew up listening to him. He’s every baseball fan’s favorite grandpa. And he had a front-row seat as the game was racially integrated in the 1950s, having begun his broadcasting career in Jackie Robinson’s fourth season and become a friend of Robinson himself. Now just shy of 90, he’s essentially the pope of the sport. For him to say that the spectacle of black players kneeling during the anthem to protest police brutality is an offense sufficient for him never to watch another NFL game is brutal. If the league wants to tell itself that only crazed Trumpers are willing to boycott the games to protest the protesters, that’s one thing. But gentlemanly Grandpa Vin? Good lord. Repent.
Associated Press journalists counted just five players protesting before or during the national anthem in some way before the early-afternoon games.
Philadelphia Eagles safeties Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod raised their fists during the anthem. Defensive end Chris Long put an arm on Jenkins. Giants injured defensive end Oliver Vernon took a knee…
No members of the Houston Texans knelt. One week earlier, all but about 10 Texans took a knee to protest team owner Bob McNair’s comment that “we can’t have the inmates running the prison” during a meeting of NFL owners about player protests.
If they’re not repenting, they should think hard about doing so soon:
9.6 overnight for Raiders-Dolphins is lowest Week 9 "SNF" rating since NBC acquired rights prior to 2006 season. First time in single digits
— Austin Karp (@AustinKarp) November 6, 2017
Speaking of not watching football, how many really good quarterbacks is the league down to now that Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson are out? There’s Brady, Brees, uh, Roethlisberger, I guess. Anyone under the age of 50? Cam Newton and Carson Wentz. Who else?
Here’s Scully talking about the anthem protests plus his famous call of Rick Monday swooping in and taking an American flag away from two idiots who were preparing to burn it on the field.