Now that the most controversial and divisive NFL season in history is in the final stages, the league honchos have to be hoping that all will be forgotten and forgiven by fans who tuned out due to the national anthem protests now that the playoffs are here.
The infusion of the politics of racial resentment into the once common ground of sports was an unnecessary and divisive distraction and the NFL paid dearly in terms of falling ratings, empty seats at stadiums and a tarnishing of their golden brand.
Commissioner Roger Goodell and the suits at league headquarters vastly underestimated the backlash from fans who found the disrespect paid to the nation, the military and the flag to be an affront to decency.
It was the league that coddled Colin Kaepernick last year instead of suspending him and nipping the protests in the bud and Goodell who all but ordered black players to take a knee when he attacked President Trump for being divisive before week three.
The number of kneelers and black power fist-thrusters eventually dwindled, especially after Goodell and the league paid what can only be described as an $89 million bribe to African-American organizations for social justice warrior training (translation: hating on cops) and punted the issue into the offseason.
But the last week of the season was still marked by protests.
— The Hill (@thehill) January 1, 2018
More than a dozen NFL players protested during or right after the national anthem on Sunday, the final weekend of the league’s regular season.
Nine Seattle Seahawks players sat or knelt during the anthem prior to the teams’ game, as they have throughout the season. Michael Bennett, Marcus Smith, Frank Clark, Dion Jordan and others were among those demonstrating, The Associated Press reported.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Rishard Matthews remained off the field during the national anthem before his team’s game, while his teammates, Brian Orakpo and Jurrell Casey, raised their fists once the anthem ended.
Kenny Stills of the Miami Dolphins also knelt prior to his team’s game while the anthem played.
San Francisco 49ers players Reuben Foster, Marquise Goodwin, Louis Murphy and Eric Reid all knelt during the anthem before their team’s game, according to The AP.
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) December 15, 2017
The trash-talking Seattle Seahawks continued to have the most players protesting, this happened again Sunday in a loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Had a bit more attention been paid to the playbook instead of sticking it to the white supremacist society that made them millionaires, they may have made the playoffs.
According to ESPN:
Seattle Seahawks: The same Seahawks who have either sat or knelt during the national anthem for much of the season did the same thing before the team’s regular-season finale against Arizona. Those sitting again were: Dion Jordan, Paul Dawson, Frank Clark, Marcus Smith, Michael Bennett, Sheldon Richardson, Jarran Reed, Quinton Jefferson and Branden Jackson. All but Dawson — a linebacker — are defensive linemen. Left tackle Duane Brown took a knee next to those players while center Justin Britt stood next to him with his hand on Brown’s shoulder in support.
A small number of teams with protesters still made the playoffs where they will continue their act on a bigger stage.
Will the fans who have boycotted the games give in or will they have the will to tune out the postseason as well? The NFL is counting on people not being able to overcome their addiction to the product once the playoffs start.
For those who are disgusted with the politicizing of the NFL, it is more important than ever to continue boycotting in the postseason where the league will be made to feel the pain and this is especially the case with the Super Bowl.
There would be no better way to give a middle finger to Goodell and the suits at NFL headquarters than for fans to boycott this year’s title game in record numbers because that is when the advertisers will be spending the most for their spots and money is all that league understands.