SNIDER: Donald Trump playing NFL owners for fools

Rick Snider
July 20, 2018 - 11:23 am

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports


President Donald Trump is making NFL owners look like chumps.

The president has long hated the NFL since failing to compete against them when buying the New Jersey Generals of the USFL in 1983. Trump essentially killed the upstart league by moving the spring league to the fall and then suing the NFL for anti-trust laws. Trump won $3 in that suit and the USFL folded.

Trump also tried to buy the Buffalo Bills as part of a group in 2014 for $1 billion only to be outbid.

So now the president has been slamming the league. Last year, he talked graphically of firing players who didn't stand during the national anthem. Sure, the First Amendment protects the free speech of players. And sure, the players weren't disrespecting the military as Trump spun it, but don't let facts get in the way of a good tweet.

NFL owners freaked when ratings declined thanks to the president's long-awaited payback. Owners buckled and passed rules sanctioning any player who didn't stand, while even saying they could stay in the locker room instead.

It was a stupid idea and the Miami Dolphins saying they'll fine players on Tuesday was doubly dumb. Meanwhile, Trump is laughing at owners over the chaos he's causing in the league he so badly wanted to join.

Now, the NFL and the NFL Players Association announced they're stalemated over sanctions over players who don't stand. No new rules concerning anthem behavior will be issued for the next few weeks while the two sides negotiate. They expressly state the hope of avoiding litigation, which of course is where this will end.

Trump is laughing at the NFL. He finally intimidated owners into an internal labor dispute with players while financially damaging the world's biggest sports league.

That's worth even more than $3.

Rick Snider has covered Washington sports since 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @Snide_Remarks