NBC Hopes for NFL ‘Compromise’ on ‘Thorny, Touchy Topic’ of National Anthem

After downplaying NFL commissioner Roger Goodell calling for an end to National Anthem protests one week earlier, on Tuesday, NBC’s Today lobbied hard for team owners to reach a “compromise” with players at an upcoming League meeting over the “thorny, touchy topic” of showing respect for the Anthem.

“NFL players and owners set to meet today to discuss those controversial National Anthem protests,” co-host Savannah Guthrie announced at the top of the show. She then fretted: “Will the League try to force players to stand, or can a compromise be reached?”

 

 

Minutes later, fellow co-host Matt Lauer noted that “the issue is taking center stage at the fall meeting of League owners.” In the report that followed, correspondent Ron Mott declared: “You know, these NFL owners’ meetings don’t usually attract widespread media attention, but obviously today’s gathering is much different as owners and players try to find some common ground over what’s become a thorny, touchy topic. And, of course, that’s the National Anthem.”

Actually, the upcoming NFL meeting received little or no attention on the other broadcast networks Tuesday morning. ABC’s Good Morning America only featured a nine-second news brief on the topic, while CBS This Morning skipped it entirely.

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After describing the “thorny” topic of expressing patriotism, Mott explained that it was “an issue that has largely overshadowed football itself this season.” He told viewers: “At today’s regularly scheduled owners’ meeting, players and union leaders will aim to reach consensus with all 32 teams on how the League should tackle ongoing National Anthem protests and the social issues important to players.”

A soundbite ran from Mike Florio of NBC Sports imploring: “The goal is to try to solve the Anthem issue once and for all. Not with an edict, not with a mandate, but with some sort of an offer to the players, a platform, separate from the Anthem.”

Blaming President Trump for “prompting large demonstrations beyond the handful of players who had been quietly kneeling” after criticizing the protests, Mott touted how “L.A. Chargers offensive lineman Russell Okung defended the protests [Colin] Kaepernick started.” The reporter quoted Okung’s complaint that Kaepernick’s “message has now be distorted, co-opted and used to further divide us along the very racial lines he was highlighting.”

On Monday, all three networks hyped Kaepernick’s lawsuit against the NFL alleging “collusion” against hiring him.

Wrapping up the already one-sided report, Mott cited a liberal politician voicing support for the protests: “Cedric Richmond, a Democrat from New Orleans and head of the CBC [Congressional Black Caucus], sent a letter to Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, saying the issue is not black patriotism but racial inequality and police brutality, and that the CBC stands with players trying to call attention to that.”

While many Americans would not see standing for the National Anthem as being a “thorny” issue that required a “compromise,” the liberal media have been so deep in the tank promoting the left-wing demonstrations that they’ve completely lost touch with much of the country.

The biased segment was brought to viewers by Subaru, Cheerios, and State Farm.

Here is a full transcript of the October 17 report:

7:01 AM ET TEASE:

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Tackling the Issue. NFL players and owners set to meet today to discuss those controversial National Anthem protests. Will the League try to force players to stand, or can a compromise be reached?

7:15 AM ET SEGMENT:  

MATT LAUER: In other news, we’re expecting some new developments today tied to National Anthem protests before NFL games that have led to heated debates nationwide. The issue is taking center stage at the fall meeting of League owners, taking place here in New York. NBC’s Ron Mott is there. Ron, good morning to you.

RON MOTT: Hey, Matt, good morning. You know, these NFL owners’ meetings don’t usually attract widespread media attention, but obviously today’s gathering is much different as owners and players try to find some common ground over what’s become a thorny, touchy topic. And, of course, that’s the National Anthem.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Anthem Protests in NFL Spotlight; Owners, Players Meet to Find Common Ground]

In a few hours, NFL players and owners sitting down to discuss standing up for the National Anthem, an issue that has largely overshadowed football itself this season. At today’s regularly scheduled owners’ meeting, players and union leaders will aim to reach consensus with all 32 teams on how the League should tackle ongoing National Anthem protests and the social issues important to players.

MIKE FLORIO [NBC SPORTS & PROFOOTBALLTALK.COM]: The goal is to try to solve the Anthem issue once and for all. Not with an edict, not with a mandate, but with some sort of an offer to the players, a platform, separate from the Anthem.

MOTT: President Trump took aim at the NFL last month, prompting large demonstrations beyond the handful of players who had been quietly kneeling.

DONALD TRUMP: Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired!”

MOTT: Mr. Trump has kept the issue alive with tweets and comments, discussing the protests again on Monday.

TRUMP: When you go down and take a knee or any other way, you’re sitting, essentially, for our great National Anthem. You're disrespecting our flag and you’re disrespecting our country.

MOTT: Colin Kaepernick, who last season initiated the protests against racial inequality and police brutality, this week filed a grievance against the NFL, accusing the League of colluding to keep him out of the game since he became a free agent back in March. In an open letter to fellow players published on the Player’s Tribune website, L.A. Chargers offensive lineman Russell Okung defended the protests Kaepernick started. “As Kap’s message has now be distorted, co-opted and used to further divide us along the very racial lines he was highlighting,” Okung wrote, “we as players have a responsibility to come together and respond collectively.”

Cedric Richmond, a Democrat from New Orleans and head of the CBC [Congressional Black Caucus], sent a letter to Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, saying the issue is not black patriotism but racial inequality and police brutality, and that the CBC stands with players trying to call attention to that. Guys?

LAUER: Okay, Ron, just a couple blocks from us here in New York City, thanks very much.  


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