"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. He is fired. He's fired!'"
Leave it to Dotardly Don to blow the NFL national anthem protests out of the water. Owners had been hoping that the protests would fade out over the course of the year but thanks to his fiery stump speech in Alabama, where he was promoting "Big Luther," they were forced to come to the defense of their players. Even long-time friend Robert Kraft voiced his disappointment in Trump's coarse references. Other owners stood with their players during the national anthem on Sunday, while entire teams stayed in their locker rooms while the anthem was being played.
This may come to be known as Black Sunday, the day the NFL stood up to the President of the United States, and to much of its fan base who seem to believe players have no right to express themselves in public. The emerging hero among conservatives is Army veteran Alejandro Villanueva, who defied his coach's orders, and stood in the tunnel saluting the flag, while the rest of his Pittsburgh teammates sat in the locker room. Coach Tomlin was none too happy about his player's decision, but wisely chose not to publicly chastise him.
All kinds of false quotes are being attributed to Jerry Jones, who has said he believes all his players should stand for the national anthem, but hasn't publicly threatened them. Dallas was one of the few teams in which no player showed signs of protest. The Cowboys may again become "America's team," although Chicago will get a lot of new fans for beating the defiant Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime.
Who knows maybe NFL ratings will go up now that Dotardly Don has chosen to chime in on the anthem protests? He later defended his unsolicited comments, calling on fans to boycott the NFL until these unruly players are "fired or suspended." This isn't the air traffic controllers union, but Trump seems to think he can influence owners to bring players in line.
What he got was an ethics violation slapped in his face. Not that it will matter as Trump has little respect for the law. He has crossed the line so many times since assuming office in January, but the Republican Congress refuses to hold him accountable.
His wrath spilled over to the Golden State Warriors on Saturday, when he "uninvited" the team to the White House after Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant stated they wouldn't attend. This showdown had been brewing for months but reached its ugly head over the weekend, with many NBA players condemning the President for his outlandish comments.
Our Twitter King is oblivious to such responses. He is hoping to strike a chord with conservatives who have lost faith in him, knowing full well how much the flag means to these people. In this sense, he is no better than the white supremacists who used the Charlottesville Robert E. Lee statue to try to solicit support.
Trump knows the value of such symbols and will use them for all they are worth, especially now that the Graham-Cassidy health care bill is in its final death throes. Where's he going to come up with the money to pay for the greatest tax cuts in American history? Sens. Graham and Cassidy hoped their bill would go a long way toward achieving this goal.
He could have also been upset that he got "out-tweeted" by Kim Jong Un, who had Americans racing to their dictionaries to find the meaning of "dotard." Which would you rather be called: "rocket man" or "an old person who has become weak or senile?"
Whatever the case, he has chosen to vent his anger on overpaid athletes, since his generals probably nixed a direct strike on Pyongyang. It was an easy scapegoat, as he still nurses a grudge against the NFL for the demise of the USFL back in the 1980s. Trump had tried to muscle his way into the league, moving the USFL season from the summer to the fall in direct competition with the NFL. Some analysts felt Trump was angling to get the NFL to expand and include his New Jersey Generals, but with two NFL teams already playing in the Meadowlands, there was no hope for such a merger. This seems to be some kind of perverted payback, which also allows him the opportunity to shroud the failure of the impending health care vote this week.
The odd part is that Trump relied heavily on NFL owners, coaches and players to tout him during the campaign. At a rally on the final evening of the campaign, he brandished a letter from Bill Belichick, proudly telling an audience in Manchester, New Hampshire, that he had the full support of both Belichick and Tom Brady, obvious fan favorites in New England.
It's the kind of love/hate relationship you can expect with Donald Trump. One that we have seen played out numerous times over the past three decades since the man rose to be a Wall Street Pop Star. No one could have imagined him ever becoming President, but here he is resorting to the same cheap tricks that got him all that attention back in the turbulent 80s. The amazing thing is that his loyal supporters are totally blind to it.
Trump may very well have to move to Alabama or Kentucky when all is said and done, as he is isolating himself from most of the country with his constant rants on twitter. But, his support of "Big Luther" may not be enough to pull the interim senator across the line, as many Alabamans prefer insurgent, Roy Moore, the so-called "Ten Commandments Judge." Trump may not find the hospitality he longs for in the "Heart of Dixie."