Cardinals' Bidwill Supports NFLers Speaking Out, Just Not On Game Day
NFL Cardinals President Michael Bidwill said it is "important" for players to speak up on social issues, but on game days, he wants them to "restrict their statements." Appearing on Phoenix-based KFYI-AM, Bidwill was asked if he regretted the way he voiced his public support of Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court. He said, "Not at all. I think it's important to speak up. People are saying stick to sports? You know what? We ask our players 20 days a year -- game days -- to restrict their statements. The rest of the days, we want our players to get engaged in the community. Just like I am and other owners are." Bidwill said despite receiving “backlash” because of his support for Kavanaugh, it is "important to speak up." Bidwill said his endorsement is "really not about the politics," noting he and Kavanaugh have known each other since they were 16 (“The Mike Broomhead Show,” KFYI-AM, 7/10). ESPN.com's Josh Weinfuss noted Bidwill, who attended prep school with Kavanaugh, was among "more than 150" former classmates who signed a letter vouching for Kavanaugh's character, including Yankees Senior VP & GM Brian Cashman (ESPN.com, 7/10).
BLURRED LINES: In DC, Des Bieler noted the Cardinals’ publication and promotion of the story put the team "firmly on one side of a charged political debate that will only get more heated as Kavanaugh answers questions in congressional hearings" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 7/10). In Phoenix, EJ Montini writes if NFL owners "don’t want players to exercise their free speech (because it might turn off some fan) then owners should follow the same rule and keep their mouths shut" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 7/11). In N.Y., Peter Botte writes, "This isn’t just a note from some random rich dude supporting one of his long-time buds; this is a political endorsement from the owner of an NFL team running on his team’s official website, which supposedly services a fan base encompassing diverse backgrounds and beliefs." Botte: "If it’s acceptable for owners and team executives to openly advocate their political beliefs, shouldn’t the players be afforded those same rights, without consequence?" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/11). In DC, Eugene Scott wrote the rules against "mixing sports and politics are not evenly applied across the field," and Bidwill and the Cardinals "provided new evidence of that" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 7/10). BLEACHER REPORT's Mike Freeman writes owners and team execs "often don't stick to sports the way they ask players to." Broncos President of Football Operations & GM John Elway last year "publicly backed Neil Gorsuch" for the Supreme Court. But Elway six months later said the NFL should "take the politics out of football." NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell also said the league was trying to "stay out of politics." But Freeman writes politics and football "have been intertwined for decades," and they will "never be separated" (BLEACHERREPORT.com, 7/11).
YOU'RE MY BOY, BLUE: In N.Y., Christian Red notes Cashman is "lending his public support" to Kavanaugh. Cashman said, "He has a very impressive resume." He added, "I obviously signed a letter of support. We both went to the same high school. A lot of times there’s a public narrative that doesn’t fit the personal narrative. From a personal narrative, you’re talking about an extremely impressive individual with high character" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/11).