An angry, hard-Left writer for USA Today Sports, Nancy Armour is implying that President Donald Trump used a form of "political terrorism" to pressure the NFL into banning national anthem protests. The NFL did not have the courage to resist the "dog whistler in chief's" opposition to pregame protests, she complains.
Armour insists "the owners were terrified that Trump would continue to use the protests as a punch line at one of his campaign klatches – sorry, rallies – and it might threaten their precious bottom line. So they caved."
Opposing the protests through campaign appearances and tweets, Armour writes, the president "figured out that he can use the league as his personal football to rile up his base and further divide the nation." Now that the owners have officially put an end to kneeling, sitting and raising a fist during the anthem, "NFL owners were woefully mistaken if they thought their new national anthem policy would muzzle the Dog Whistler in Chief." Armour believes the bigoted Trump will use the ban on protest to his political advantage:
"Trump might give owners the occasional pat on his head, but the league will still be damaged when he turns his verbal fire hose at the players. And that is exactly what he will continue to do:
"With the mid-term elections looming as a referendum on Trump’s presidency, he’s going to pull out every racist and bigoted trope he can to convince his base that American exceptionalism – read: white exceptionalism – is under siege, and it’s these black and brown people who are to blame. He did it Thursday morning, and he’s going to keep doing it."
The cowardly NFL is playing right into Trump's hand with the ban, Armour contends. " It was billed as a compromise, but it was really a capitulation. The protests had largely become a non-issue until Trump took up his bullhorn last year, calling players 'SOBs' and saying owners should fire them. Vice President Mike Pence ratcheted up the hysteria further with his faux indignation over San Francisco 49ers players who protested before a game in Indianapolis."
Armour prefers the NFL calls the bully's bluff, but doubts it will because of its cowardice.
This USA Today rant is another of several angry media posts in the past week positioning NFL owners as puppets for Trump and downplaying the severe damage to the league's bottom line by two years of unlimited protests. Instead, the focus is almost universally on Trump forcing his racist and political interests on the NFL.