The NFL announced on Wednesday that players would be required to stand during the national anthem or remain in their team’s locker room until the anthem is completed. The announcement, a new policy for the 2018-2019 season, is the work of President Trump.
An anonymous source within the NFL tells Bleacher Report, “Our league is f—–g terrified of Trump. We’re scared of him.”
President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence expelled a lot of energy in 2017 attempting to make players stand for the national anthem. Amidst the controversy, the league noticed a drop in TV ratings.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced this week that the league would fine any team or league employee if they failed “to stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.”
Trump leeched onto Goodell’s announcement and criticized the decision to allow players to remain in the locker room.
“I don’t think people should be staying in the locker rooms, but still I think it’s good,” Trump told Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade. “You have to stand proudly for the national anthem. You shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe they shouldn’t be in the country.”
We already knew the NFL didn’t take kindly to the protests. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeled for the anthem before regular-season games throughout the 2016 season and has been unable to find a new home on any NFL team since that time.
“This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem. Personnel who choose not to stand for the Anthem may stay in the locker room until after the Anthem has been performed,” Goodell said in a statement.
When stumping in Alabama, Trump went off the rails and demanded action from team owners.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b—- off the field right now, he’s fired,'” Trump said. “You know, some owner’s going to do that.”
To be clear, the NFL ratings were in decline well before the anthem protests began. However, ratings dipped by 9.7% across all networks in 2017, sparking speculation that boycotts might be playing a part in viewership declines. The drop in ratings didn’t stop Verizon from signing a $1.5 billion streaming deal with the NFL.