Earlier today, ESPN’s Stephen Smith declared Trump the winner thus far in the National Anthem protest debate.
“In the end, what it really, really comes down to is the president has successfully hijacked this issue,” Smith said on “First Take,” explaining that the original purpose of the anthem protests – highlighting racial inequality and police brutality – has been lost.
“He’s turned it into an issue about patriotism and beyond. He’s catering to his base in the process,” Smith said.
President Trump again commented on the protests again today, questioning why the NFL was receiving federal tax subsidies when they don’t respect the nation.
Why is the NFL getting massive tax breaks while at the same time disrespecting our Anthem, Flag and Country? Change tax law!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2017
As we’ve reported last week, taxpayers at all levels of government foot the bill in subsidizing the construction of football stadiums to the total of an estimated $1 billion annually. In just the past decade, we’ve seen a handful of stadiums built in part with your tax dollars, among them being for teams like the Indianapolis Colts (the $720 million Lucas Oil Stadium), the Dallas Cowboys (the $1.15 billion AT&T Stadium), the New York Jets and Giants (the $1.6 billion MetLife Stadium), the Minnesota Vikings (the $1.1 billion U.S. Bank Stadium), the Atlanta Falcons (the $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium), and the San Francisco 49ers (the $1.3 billion Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara).
From a fiscal point of view, it makes sense to stop those subsidies for the sole reason that the government should have no role in professional sports.
But back to Smith’s comments. It really does appear that Trump has won the debate over the National Anthem. After all, as ESPN reports: “The NFL has developed a plan to ‘move past’ its ongoing debate about player protests during the national anthem and could enact it next week, commissioner Roger Goodell wrote Tuesday in a letter to all 32 teams.”
This “moving past” the issue includes Goodell asking players to stand for the Anthem going forward. More from the report: “Goodell made clear in the letter, obtained by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, that he wants players to stand during the anthem. He did not provide specifics on how he intends to ensure it, but he wrote that it would ‘include such elements as an in-season platform to promote the work of our players on these core issues.'”
What he said pretty much confirms Smith’s comments. President Trump succeeded in re-framing the debate into one about patriotism. And he won.
While it’s great to see Trump score a victory, let’s hope the next one he achieves has to do with Obamacare, tax reform, or immigration.
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