NFL commissioner Roger Goodell released a statement earlier this month, posting a video in which he admitted that the league was wrong for not listening to their players in the past. He expressed his support for the players’ right to peacefully protest, which were surprising comments from the commish considering the league’s actions following Colin Kaepernick’s peaceful protests during the national anthem in 2016.
While it seems like Goodell and the entire NFL want to be on the right side of history as the Black Lives Matter movement becomes more widely accepted, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich isn’t buying it. He spoke with the New York Times about the league’s previous missteps, which, to him, includes giving into pressure from Donald Trump.
“A smart man is running the NFL and he didn’t understand the difference between the flag and what makes the country great — all the people who fought to allow [Colin] Kaepernick to have the right to kneel for justice,” Popovich said. “The flag is irrelevant. It’s just a symbol that people glom onto for political reasons.”
Piggybacking off of Goodell’s statement, star players like including J.J. Watt have utilized their platforms to explain the true meaning behind the anthem protest, with Texans head coach Bill O’Brien and Baker Mayfield vowing to take a knee this upcoming season.
Popovich went on to recall that during Kaep’s protest, Goodell “got intimidated when Trump jumped on the kneeling [and] he folded.”
If you’ll recall, Trump referred to the NFL players who were kneeling as a “son of a bitch” during a 2017 rally in Alabama. “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 said. “Out! He’s fired. He’s fired.”
With more players coming around to what Colin Kapernick was talking about 4 years ago, it’ll be interesting to see if he makes it back into the league next season.
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