June 07, 2018
While I would love to "stick to sports," unfortunately you now also have to be a political pundit to cover "The Philadelphia Eagles Football Team," after their highly publicized dust up with Donald Trump this week. And so, now that things are calming down again (for now), let's hand out 10 awards from the whole debacle.
To begin, allow me to state the obvious: Donald Trump couldn't care less about the national anthem.
He's an opportunist who knows that self-proclaimed "patriotic Americans" who have zero clue what NFL players' protests are about (mostly police brutality and racial inequality, to be clear) will applaud his rhetoric that the players are aiming to disrespect the flag, the national anthem, the United States military, apple pie, or any other patriotic symbolism one can think of.
In November of 2017 (via ESPN), the NFL agreed "to contribute $89 million over seven years to projects dealing with criminal justice reform, law enforcement/community relations and education." As a result, most players, including the Eagles' Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Long, ceased showing any form of demonstration during the national anthem. Progress was being made.
But progress is not what Donald Trump seeks to achieve. During the 2018 offseason, he successfully bullied the NFL's owners into implementing an idiotic policy that allowed for the league to fine teams whose players demonstrate during the anthem, and in turn, allowing the teams to discipline those players. The players are predictably angry over this development, meaning the protests will begin again, and all the progress that was being made will take three steps backwards.
Trump is fully aware that American citizens who either don't know what the protests are all about — or worse, have zero interest in racial equality — will eat up his narratives about "disrespecting 'Murica" with a spoon. Trump's actions over the last few weeks are little more than attempts to revive racial divides by poking the hornet's nest and thwarting progress.
It doesn't often occur that bullied individuals should be subjected to further shame, but that is exactly the case with Roger Goodell and the NFL owners who were bullied into implementing the aforementioned new idiotic anthem demonstration policy. Here it is, if you're unfamiliar:
Here’s the policy statement distributed to media. pic.twitter.com/u5ZOdSBQpR— Brian McCarthy (@NFLprguy) May 23, 2018
As noted above, the league can fine teams for demonstrating during the anthem, and it allows for teams to punish players however they see fit. The NFL allowed itself to be bullied by Trump, and it is already backfiring on them.
When the Eagles were disinvited from the White House, they could have reacted with some kind of strong statement against the White House. Instead, they chose to ignore it all, refusing to provide more ammo for Trump's rhetoric, and simply went back to work, while releasing the following statement:
That statement says absolutely nothing, which is the point.
How did the White House react? Like a teenage boy who was dumped by, and subsequently ignored by, his ex-girlfriend.
The White House released two statements on the disinvite, and Trump tweeted about it three times. They responded five times in writing versus the Eagles' lone non-response.
The first of Trump's three tweets was the following:
The Philadelphia Eagles Football Team was invited to the White House. Unfortunately, only a small number of players decided to come, and we canceled the event. Staying in the Locker Room for the playing of our National Anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling. Sorry!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2018
I have several thoughts here:
Trump saying "The Philadelphia Eagles Football Team" is like Apu saying "The NY Mets are my favorite squadron". He obviously has zero clue about anything regarding the sport.— Jesus "Not Bryan Colangeo..." Zoidberg (@JesusZoidberg) June 5, 2018
In Trump's second tweet, he informed the "Country" (again, not a proper noun, but whatever) that in lieu of the Eagles' visit, the White House would hold a makeshift "Hooray for America" party.
We will proudly be playing the National Anthem and other wonderful music celebrating our Country today at 3 P.M., The White House, with the United States Marine Band and the United States Army Chorus. Honoring America! NFL, no escaping to Locker Rooms!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2018
The people in attendance were framed as Eagles fans, I guess (?), except they weren't. As it turns out, the people in attendance didn't even know who played quarterback for the Eagles in the Super Bowl.
Trump's fake fans narrowly edged out the few dozen Minnesota fans who gathered near the Rocky statue before the Eagles throttled the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game, for the lamest turnout.
Lamer turnout?— Jimmy Kempski (@JimmyKempski) June 5, 2018
I figured the sawwwwffffft Vikings fans would hold the title of lamest fans for the foreseeable future, but their run lasted less than five months.
As for the "Hooray for America" celebration itself, here's video of Trump trying to sing along with God Bless America. It appears that he doesn't know the words.
"God Bless America" sung at end of a “Celebration of America” event held in place of event celebrating Super Bowl champions Philadelphia Eagles. Pres. Trump disinvited the Eagles from the White House last night. https://t.co/ksNjmDyA8a pic.twitter.com/852zDQNlpg— ABC News (@ABC) June 5, 2018
He looks like Chris Farley and David Spade trying to fake their way through the lyrics of R.E.M.'s "It's the End of the World" in Tommy Boy.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that Eagles fans "deserved better."
.@PressSec on cancellation Super Bowl celebration: "The @Eagles are the ones that tried to change their commitment at the eleventh hour and the president frankly thinks that the fans deserve better than that." https://t.co/IVTXwxb3sf pic.twitter.com/fiuvjT4Qfy— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 5, 2018
Lol. Personally, I can't get past the irony of Sanders using the phrase "tiny handful" in regard to the Eagles, considering Trump's legendary pair of tiny handfuls.
Trump pointed out in a tweet that many other teams have visited the White House during his presidency.
We have had many Championship teams recently at the White House including the Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Penguins, New England Patriots, Alabama and Clemson National Champions, and many others. National Anthem & more great music today at 3:00 P.M.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2018
To begin, OF COURSE the Penguins were welcomed to the White House. I mean, Evgeni Malkin is Russian.
But, beyond that, it used to be a whimsical event for championship teams to visit the White House. I remember being a kid and watching Ronald Reagan throwing a pass to Ricky Sanders.
That's all over now. And, as LeBron James noted, whatever team wins the NBA Championship is not going to accept an invitation to visit the White House.
LeBron James addresses controversy over Pres. Trump uninviting the Philadelphia Eagles to the White House.— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) June 5, 2018
“I know no matter who wins this series, no one wants the invite anyway. It won’t be Golden State or Cleveland going.” https://t.co/LF1vZxTCMn pic.twitter.com/0u923URBCk
In a sea of idiocy surrounding all this nonsense, Malcolm Jenkins is a rare example of someone who managed to make some cogent points.
(Hands clapping emoji)
Don't like all the political talk mixed in with sports, which are supposed to be, you know, fun? Me neither. But that's the reality here, and it isn't going away as long as Trump continues to attempt to divide people for his own political gain, using the NFL as little more than jumping off point to create a laughable image of himself as an upholder of patriotism.
And guess what else? The Eagles are going to be at the forefront of this rhetoric all season long. Buckle up, because unfortunately, it isn't going away.
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