Trump Threatens The NFL, But It’s Just Symbolism With No Real Impact

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Donald Trump is continuing to pick a fight with entire NFL franchise over a few individuals exercising their right to freedom of expression and protest. While his battle has resonated with his base, his most recent threat is symbolic only and if achieved, will not have any real effect.

Since Trump began his attacks on the NFL and the players who choose to kneel during the national anthem, many of his ardent supporters have called for the franchise to lose it’s tax exempt status.  Now, Trump decided to Tweet about that specifically, tossing the looming threat of a nuclear war aside yet again in favor of riling up of his conservative base who is determined to shut down free speech.

But all this grandstanding and political posturing is nothing more than hot air. The tax break for the NFL has been a point of controversy for years, and other conservatives have taken up the cause in recent weeks because the president has repeatedly assailed the league over the peaceful protests of some of the players. But the idea would be more about symbolism than impact.  In fact, it wouldn’t impact the NFL at all. The tax break applies only to the central office, not the teams, which already pay taxes as for-profit organizations, and the NFL voluntarily gave up the tax exemption for its league office in 2015.

So even if he changes the law, nothing changes with the NFL.  The NFL still pays taxes. The vice president is still buying tickets to the games making the boycott look weak, and the right is melting down so much, they’ve resorted to faking photos and articles to generate even more outrage over an issue that isn’t really all that pertinent. But that doesn’t matter. Likely the biggest injustice during this whole debacle was the right’s ability to turn a peaceful action meant to bring awareness to police brutality into a fight about a flag and the veterans and the national anthem. But maybe Trump is still sore over the outcome of his pitiful lawsuit against the USFL.

The president continued to be animated by his fight with the sports world. He has enthusiastically kept up his attacks on the N.F.L., with which he has a long history of antagonism. A onetime owner of the New Jersey Generals in the upstart United States Football League, Mr. Trump persuaded other owners to sue the N.F.L. using antitrust law. The U.S.F.L. won the suit on the law but the jury awarded only $1 in damages — tripled to $3 by law — and Mr. Trump’s league ultimately folded. –New York Times

So maybe he’s just offended and upset that the NFL is doing so well on their own without his input. Or he’s holding a grudge against the USFL for not outdoing the NFL. It’s hard to say, but he’s found an easy way to distract and divide along yet another line.

He’s emulating plays right out of Divider-In-Chief Barack Obama’s playbook. Taking away non-existent tax breaks or writing a law about it will simply waste even more taxpayer money, and it’s the very same thing Obama did to natural resource industry. (Only Obama’s divide was more successful. Trump’s threat will achieve nothing, even if he is successful in changing the law.)  And isn’t it Mike Pence’s job to waste tax dollars on the very thing the conservative base insists on boycotting? The vice president seems all to happy to spend taxpayer money on tickets to games he walks out of in order to make some kind of grand political gesture.

Regarding the player protests, Mr. Joe Lockhart said the league’s 260-page game operations manual has not changed and he highlighted the precise language governing the anthem. The players, he said, “must” be on the sidelines during the playing of the anthem and “should” stand for the anthem. The league, however, has “not chosen to discipline any of the players” who have not stood for the anthem, he said. –New York Times

Companies may choose to have any policy they want and it’s up to them to enforce those rules, not the government.  What we have now, is a lot of jealous right-wingers who cannot protest at their jobs without disciplinary action, so they want others punished too. Punishment redistribution.  Of course, not many Americans are forced to stand for the national anthem at the beginning of their workday anyway, so the whole debate seems a little ridiculous from the get-go. But for those who just can’t let the peaceful actions of others not affect their lives, there’s good news.

The rules and NFL’s policy on the national anthem will be up for debate soon enough either way. The owners will meet in New York next week, where the anthem protests will be on the agenda. Roger Goodell and the owners have said that they want the players to stand “because we think it’s an important part of the game,” Mr. Lockhart said, and “there’s a strong feeling at every level that we ought to be getting back to football.”

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