The N.F.L. Still Has a Trump Problem

Jeffrey Lurie, proprietor of the Eagles, took a totally different view. Don’t pander to the president, he stated, by clamping down on the gamers. Work with the gamers and tune out the noise. The president will do what he does regardless.

“We’ve got to be careful not to be baited by Trump or whomever else,” he stated on the assembly. “We have to find a way to not be divided and not get baited.”

Most of the house owners took the bait anyway. Not lengthy after the assembly, everybody from Commissioner Roger Goodell on down stated they most popular if the gamers stood for the anthem. Behind closed doorways, they debated how you can change the league’s coverage to force, not suggest, that gamers stand.

The house owners modified that coverage in May, infuriating the gamers, together with many who didn’t protest in the course of the nationwide anthem final season.

Right on cue, the president declared victory. Mr. Trump said he was pleased with the N.F.L.’s new coverage, however stated he didn’t assume the gamers ought to even be staying within the locker room in protest. If a participant will not be standing for the nationwide anthem, Mr. Trump stated, “Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.”

If the house owners thought the issue could be solved by tweaking their coverage, they have been fallacious. They ought to have recognized higher, even with out Mr. Lurie’s warning. (Mr. Lurie took his personal recommendation: In a assertion issued Monday evening, the Eagles thanked their followers however by no means talked about the president.)

Mr. Trump has been preventing the league for the reason that 1980s when, because the proprietor of the New Jersey Generals of the short-lived U.S.F.L., he efficiently sued the league for violating antitrust legal guidelines. The victory was hole. The upstart league received $three in damages and collapsed. Mr. Trump has tried to purchase N.F.L. groups over time, however has been spurned, although he does stay mates with a number of house owners, most notably Robert Ok. Kraft of the New England Patriots. Things modified as soon as he turned president. He has attacked the league mercilessly, poking at Mr. Goodell and taking glee within the league’s tv scores falling. He even floated the thought of eradicating a few of the league’s tax exemptions.

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