ESPN First Take host Stephen A. Smith has a new take on the national anthem protests by NFL players. He says he's grown tired of the whole demonstration and suggests that everyone should get back to focusing on football because the protests aren't accomplishing anything.
Most players are expected to stand for the national anthem in Sunday's football games rather than take a knee.
The protests were actually dying down until President Trump's "SOB" riff at an Alabama political rally, which prompted the NFL industry collective to respond. Even many Trump supporters feel that the president should have left the subject alone or at least commented on it in a way that was less inflammatory.
With that in mind, according to Smith, whose detractors sometimes refer to him as Screamin' A., the protests started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick about police brutality and other social issues have been "hijacked" by an anti-Trump movement. He also maintained that there has been zero progress in addressing those grievances and that most players originally wanted no part of the Kaepernick protest, noting that it was the media that kept it alive by sticking microphones in their faces to pepper them with questions about it, Breitbart News reported.
'The locking of the arms, the kneeling during the national anthems...I'm tired of it. I'm tired of it. Here is the reason why: number one, I want to get back to football. Number two and more importantly than getting back to football, I want to know what the hell we are going to really, really, really do about it...There were a few individuals who made their presence felt and took a knee in support of him, but by and large, these people weren't speaking up to support him. They only spoke up when President Donald Trump spoke out against the NFL last weekend. And to me, what that says is it's not about Colin Kaepernick, it is about Trump..."
Smith, who is generally pro player in most contexts, continued with his remarks about the NFL national anthem protests.
"This is an anti-Trump protest. Okay, you're free to do all of that. But that is going to create more division. It is not going to bring about more unity because you have an abundance of people, 60 million plus, who voted for this man, even more tens of millions of people who support the conservative ideology that some people believe is attached to him..."Watch the Stephen A. Smith clip below and draw your own conclusions.
While the players, like all Americans, obviously enjoy freedom of speech and the right to engage in political discourse and activism, the NFL is a private company to which the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution does not apply. It also has an existing work rule requiring players to stand during the Star-Spangled Banner pre-game ceremony. Counter-protesters, as it were, also enjoy freedom of speech, which includes switching to another TV channel, burning season tickets or team jerseys, or staying home rather than attend games.
Back in August, Fox Sports 1 host Jason Whitlock claimed that a potential backlash on social media and from the media, in general, explains why NFL players are reluctant to publicly express their actual feelings about the Colin Kaepernick take-a-knee, national anthem protest.
Separately, a survey from the Morning Consult public opinion firm claims that the favorability of the NFL brand has dropped from 30 percent to 17 percent since September 21. The findings also suggested that 33 percent of Trump voters now have an unfavorable view of the league (previously it was just 11 percent). Americans also have changed their view about whether the NFL plays a positive role in their community. Only 35 percent feel that way, down from 45 percent in mid September.
A national survey by Kansas City-based Remington Research Group of about 2,000 voters claims that America is on Trump's side. Among the findings, nearly two-thirds of respondents in the public opinion survey indicated that NFL players should stand while the national anthem is being played as part of pre-game ceremonies.Of the 51 percent of the respondents who said they are now watching less football, about 70 percent noted that it was because players are using the games "as a stage for their political views."
Online reseller TickPick saw a nearly 18 percent drop in NFL orders this week, the Washington Examiner reported.
Are you tired of the NFL national anthem protests?
[Featured Image by John Salangsang/Invision/AP Images]