Sports Illustrated Sweating Out NFL’s Ability To Cope With Trump Again 

Jay Maxson | July 29, 2022
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It’s bad enough that former President Donald Trump is campaigning for his favorites in this mid-term election year. Sports Illustrated writer Connor Orr is already having night sweats about how the sports landscape could withstand a second presidential term for Trump. 

Orr regretfully interrupts “this typically joyful moment of time on the NFL calendar, as teams file back into their buildings for training camps” to pose “a difficult question that may have been lingering in the back of our collective minds, one we did our best to keep dormant until now.”

It’s how NFL teams could cope with the potential return of President Trump just two years from now. Oh, my: lions and tigers and bears and Trump!  

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The NFL cowered like a minnow as Jaws Trump circled the league with his criticism of Colin Kaepernick and anthem kneelers from 2016-2020. The league altered its anthem policy, out of its fear of Trump’s Twitter account, Orr reminds all. NFL television viewership wavered, too, because patriotic, but directionless, fans had to be told by the president that the SJWs needed to be shunned. Billion-dollar football enterprises were supposedly quaking in their cleats that Trump would give the order for robot owners to fire unrepentant SJWs. 

President Trump framed the Kaepernick narrative as a litmus test for people’s views of “law enforcement tactics and practices as a matter of good and evil, of pro-country and anti-country.” Orr’s good fella Kaepernick was practically an innocent victim. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is now doing the same kinds of awful things to please the Trump crowd. 

Orr envisions the rhetoric becoming more heated as the Nov. 8 election draw closer “and the closer Trump comes to finding his way back to mainstream social media and a stranglehold on the daily news cycle, especially if he decides to run for president in ’24.” 

The NFL’s investigation of allegations that Cleveland and Miami tanked in hopes of landing No. 1 draft picks could trigger the former president, and the league can’t possible survive that. He’s a confrontational guy, and “if he views the league as against him, he won’t hesitate to yank it into this culture war.”  

If we get this right, the NFL’s new “gay, lesbian, queer, trans” identity, its rampant criminal problem, brain damage lawsuits, the Deshaun Watson scandal and its multi-million-dollar social justice protection payouts pale in comparison to the fall-out of potential Trump criticism. 

The rise of Trumpism is the greater problem. “What happens, after two years of strategizing with a broader political network, a mainstream party supporting his every move and a political war chest greater than both the Republican and Democratic parties?” Orr asks. 

The NFL will survive; it’s too big to truly fail, Orr concludes. Nonetheless, the league may have to sweat some bullets over the circling shark Trump. Now is the time to prepare for the unthinkable because football cannot afford to ignore Donald John Trump, SI says.