But Mike Florio and the rest of the sports media is ignoring the fact that the fans have even more:
The next test comes when millions of fans who haven’t been paying attention to every twist and turn of NFL news witness for the first time the renewed anthem protests, the messages in the end zone, the names on the helmet bumpers, and react negatively to these gestures with insults and worse. The league needs to be ready to show the players that the league truly has their backs when the inevitable blowback comes.
The league can’t and won’t make everyone happy. It needs to be very concerned about making the players happy, because the players’ power includes boycotting games.
Technically, it would be an illegal wildcat strike. As a practical matter, the league would risk horrible P.R. and employee relations by taking the union to court to force players back to work and/or to recover compensation for money lost by scrapped games. Indeed, NFL executive V.P. of football operations Troy Vincent already has said that the players have the “right” to skip games over social justice matters.
And so the challenge for the league will be to convince teams like the Dolphins that it’s not just talk, and that the league and the owners are truly on board with them. There’s no middle ground, no fence to ride, no needle to thread. If the league isn’t with the players on this, the league necessarily is against them. Unlike ever before, the players realize that they do something about it far more tangible than protest during the anthem.
They can walk out.
Sure they can. But the fans can walk out too. Tens of millions already have. And unlike the players, when a fan walks out, his exit is infinitely sustainable. And no feeble attempts to shame the fans who are rejecting the convergence of the league is going to put one single dollar back in the NFL’s coffers.
It made no sense to boo. It wasn’t political in any way. But even an expression of unity has become political in this upside-down era of ours, because apparently everything must be viewed through a political lens, in the eyes of those who tolerate political viewpoints that mesh with their own but chafe in the face of any political viewpoints different than theirs as an invasion on their “escape” from having to deal with things that make them uncomfortable. So what about a plea for unity makes someone uncomfortable? And if someone is made uncomfortable by an expression of unity, doesn’t that say more about them than about the people striving for something so basic and fundamental?
Of course it made sense. The players’ action was political. The fans understand perfectly well that the “expression of unity” was just another lie, just another thinly disguised assault on America, Western civilization and White people. And what that very public rejection by the fans who haven’t walked away from the NFL already says is that they are beginning to understand they are in a war on their culture, their society, and their civilization. Even shameless SJWs like Florio know they are in the minority; it’s not an accident that PFT is keeping the comments closed on every post that touches upon the social justice convergence of the NFL.
I didn’t watch one single moment of the Chiefs-Texans game. I didn’t watch a single moment of NFL-related opinion and analysis. I haven’t even read the box score or a single article on the actual game itself. It’s the first time in 45 seasons that is the case. And given what I have read about the game and the importance the media is placing on the crowd’s reaction to the political demonstration by the two teams, I’m very glad to have turned my back on the NFL.
I am very far from the only one. And the sports media knows it, which is why at least one Sports Illustrated writer is worried about what the backlash they know perfectly well is coming will do to the league:
Today is when the blowback starts. Today is when owners tune in to their morning opinion channel of choice and ingest the inevitable and ridiculous response to Thursday night and how it is somehow, unquestionably un-American. What happens now? What happens if the boos persist? What happens if the polls shift? What happens when the wind changes?
What happens is the league will eventually submit to its angry fans and ban all political expression by the players. The only question is whether it happens soon enough to prevent the 50 percent decline in TV ratings that is already underway.