Yesterday my wife and I visited Sun Trust park and watched the Red Sox, despite a shaky (but scoreless) performance from Nathan Evoaldi, take game one of their 3 game set with the Atlanta Braves 8-2. The game was much closer than the score would indicate and it wasn’t until the Sox added two in the top of the 8th to give a bit of a cushion and 3 more in the 9th that it was comfortable.
It was a grand day for baseball. The huge amount of RedSox fans in attendance meant that it had the feel of a home game for the Alex Cora’s team and there were competing cries of “Let’s go Redsox” and “Let’s go Braves” on a regular basis and everyone was focused not only on a great game but the playoff implications of a game that could be a preview to this year’s World Series making it a great day for Baseball in General and for the Red Sox who won the game and the Braves who sold out the park in particular.
Meanwhile while key games in pennant races continued to be the focus for baseball, the NFL with its season about to start discovered that the Colin Kaepernick and the kneeling controversy continues to be the gift that keeps on giving:
Nike selected former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the face of its “Just Do It” campaign, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary.
Darren Rovell of ESPN reported the choice of Kaepernick, who started the movement to kneel during the United States national anthem to protest racial injustice in August 2016.
In one respect this move by Nike, the official sneaker of the NFL. might make some business sense when you consider the demographic targets for on overpriced sneakers made in Vietnam and China are not likely to be all that upset about protesters kneeling for the National anthem.
Alas this isn’t the case for the NFL. Not only is this move likely to spark even more protests by players which, while embraced by the playsers association and ESPN, will serve to enrage their customer base even further but Nike has guaranteed that the for the rest of the week the lead story for those covering the NFL will not be the opening of the season and the various teams, players and stars but the whole Kaepernick protest business which is the last thing a league that whose ratings are already in decline needs.
Of course in fairness the NFL was already in this position to some degree as the Washington Post noted in a story written before Nike’s Kaepernick anouncement:
In May, the owners of the NFL’s teams were gathered at a hotel in the Buckhead district of Atlanta. As a high-ranking official from one franchise made his way to a coffee break before the meetings began, he wondered what the group would do that week about the national anthem dilemma that had so vexed the league since President Trump inflamed a national controversy last fall about players’ protests during the anthem.
“What we can’t do,” the official said, “is get to next season and still be in this position.”
However, with the opening of the 2018 season days away, that is exactly where the league finds itself.
The Washington Post, not withstanding their mendacious attempt to blame Trump for the players actions, was exactly right about the NFL’s situation before Nike signed Kaepernick and made it worse.
Perhaps the NFL should have thought of this before it decided to allow the Kaepernick protests to go unchallenged. If they did the conversation this week might be about Brady, the Eagles QB situation and the new contract for Aaron Rogers rather than who kneels and who stands. And you better believe that with election day only weeks away, President Trump and the GOP will take full advantage of the gift of idiocy of their opponent in this matter.
FYI in case your interested at yesterday’s Atlanta Braves Boston Redsox game A group of local school children sang the national anthem to start the game and an opera singer followed up with a resounding rendition of God Bless America during the seventh inning stretch. Nobody kneeled during either song and thus nobody other than me found it worth mentioning.