Trump: Suspending Kaepernick For Protest Would Have Prevented Anthem Issues
President Trump believes the NFL "would have never had a problem" with protests during the national anthem had the league suspended Colin Kaepernick when he first took a knee during the '16 preseason. Trump, appearing on Fox News' "Hannity," said Kaepernick "would have never done it again" if the NFL penalized him initially. Trump: "They could have then suspended him for two games and they could have suspended him if he did it a third time for the season." He called Kaepernick's protest "terrible" and something that became "bigger and bigger and started mushrooming" ("Hannity," Fox News, 10/11). The NFL will take up the topic of possibly instituting a rule that players must stand for the anthem during next week's owners meeting, and in N.Y., Charles Gasparino writes the controversy, which was "all but ignored by NFL brass before the president got involved, was an easy pick-six down the sideline" for Trump. He "gleefully and expertly took advantage and scored some much-needed political points in the process." Sources said that the league's data show around 70% of all NFL viewers "make $100,000 a year or less." NFL viewers additionally are nearly 70% "white and mostly male." The typical viewer is "also more likely to have served in the military than the general population." Gasparino: "In other words, welcome to Trump Country." The president "knew this from the minute he started his stand for the anthem crusade" (N.Y. POST, 10/12). In DC, Cheryl Chumley writes Trump has been on the "right side of this NFL kneeling issue from the start, calling out league officials for allowing their paid players to use the football field -- their place of business -- for political protests" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/12).
SELF-SERVING MOVE: USA TODAY's Christine Brennan writes Trump is "waging war on the NFL for his own selfish political purposes." This was "not a fight the NFL wanted," as the president "dragged the league into this one with his despicable, race-baiting, 'son of a bitch' comment about anthem protesters in a political speech in Alabama nearly three weeks ago." However, this is the "fight the NFL now faces." As much as the league "says it wants to work with its players on the very significant issues some are highlighting with their bended knees and locked arms, it can’t when a human noise machine with a cell phone continues to pound away from the vast beyond" (USA TODAY, 10/12).