Columnist: NFL's Fanless Games Due To Trump's Early Stance On Virus
NFL stadiums this week opened largely without fans because the pandemic "wasn’t taken seriously enough by the politician to whom the owners of these stadiums have donated millions," according to LZ Granderson of the L.A. TIMES. Granderson: "If I was an NFL team owner, I would not be happy about the loss of revenue the pandemic will cause. I would be angry knowing that loss of millions might have been avoided had the president I had supported with millions had not lied to the public about the virus" (L.A. TIMES, 9/11).
ABOUT THIS ABOUT-FACE: ESPN.com's Dan Le Batard wrote the NFL's owners "not only refused" to be on Colin Kaepernick's side regarding protests, but "exercised an obvious institutional pressure upon him and his peers ... choosing en masse, really, to kneel before Trump instead." These owners, with "all their power and F-you money, either didn't have the stomach for any kind of public fight or chose the wrong side, and they did so for almost four damn years, while Trump was at the height of his powers but they were also at the height of theirs." That the NFL has "totally about-faced on this is not an act of nobility; it is the spineless swaying blown in by the day's wind because of all the unrest in their huddles, in their banks, in their streets" (ESPN.com, 9/12).
COLLEGIATE CONVERSATION: Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren in an interview Friday said Trump "made it very clear that he would help in any way that he possibly could to help us return to competition." In N.Y., Blinder & Martin wrote the "geography of college football’s partial shutdown" has made "gridiron politics irresistible." Convinced he has "clout in the game," the president has "repeatedly interjected himself in the deliberations about whether to play this year." Warren said, "The biggest thing I wanted to do during the call with President Trump was to listen, to learn and to reiterate that the most important item that the Big Ten Conference continues to focus on is the health and safety of our student-athletes." Warren added that Trump "refrained from explicit pressure during the call, which he said lasted about 15 minutes and was 'a very professional, respectful conversation'" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/13).