People really hate it when football gets political. When African American players used their visibility during televised games as an opportunity to protest the deadly effects of entrenched racism in America, uncle Ricks and cousin Hanks from Orange County to Orange Beach, Alabama, burned their expensive NFL jerseys in protest. I mean, it’s like, can’t they spend their Sundays watching these guys punish their bodies without having to think too much about their humanity?
Of course, there are more subtle ways to politicize America’s other pastime—like being a highly partisan Republican president and tweeting to congratulate only one of the two teams headed to the Super Bowl in February, most likely because that team’s coach, quarterback, and owner have all been supporters. (Note: Tom Brady and President Trump apparently had a falling out when the QB skipped a trip to the White House in 2017.) (Another note: The government has been shut down for 31 days. Just a reminder.)
Congratulations to Bob Kraft, Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the entire New England Patriots team on a great game and season. Will be a fantastic Super Bowl!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 21, 2019
The Los Angeles Rams are headed to the Super Bowl after a dramatic (albeit controversial) win over the New Orleans Saints yesterday. Likewise, the Patriots are championship bound (again) after beating the Kansas City Chiefs. But only one team got kudos from the commander in chief.
Both Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Rams owner Stanley Kroenke donated $1 million to Trump’s inauguration fund, but the latter likely fell out of favor with Trump when, in September 2017, he released a statement in support of his players’ right to kneel during the national anthem.
Statement from Rams Owner/Chairman E. Stanley Kroenke. pic.twitter.com/OJ3vFbPNwn
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) September 24, 2017
Trump has had California stuck in his craw since he took office. In 2016, 61.5 percent of voters in the nation’s most-populous state cast ballots for Hillary Clinton, while Trump got a measly 31.5 percent. The numbers were even more dramatic in L.A. County, where Clinton got 72 percent to Trump’s sad 22.5 percent. Everything about L.A. is a threat to him: It’s big, overwhelmingly liberal, diverse, and full of glamorous, influential people who Trump wishes loved him but instead vociferously hate him, which really gets his Twitter fingers flying. Plus, people have made a hobby of destroying his Hollywood Walk of Fame star with pickaxes.
His apparent distaste for the Golden State reached new heights earlier this month when he tweeted that he would be directing FEMA to withhold disaster relief funds from wildfire victims unless the state gets its “act together” in terms of “forrest” management. At the time, FEMA’s news desk manager said he had no idea what Trump was talking about.
Trump and his followers say they don’t want football to be political, but, come on, that’s bullshit. The president wants everything to be political because he wants everything to be about him. Fine. We’ll bite. If the Rams win the Super Bowl, Trump loses. In the meantime, maybe he can manage to reopen the government.
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