Opinion: NFL national anthem debate will ultimately help the president politically

    FILE - At left, in a Feb. 1, 2017, file photo, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell answers questions during a news conference for the Super Bowl 51 football game, in Houston. At right, in an Oct. 7, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump speaks to reporters at the White House in Washington. NFL owners will meet next week to consider changes to a game manual that says players “should” stand during the national anthem, a guideline that the league has left to the discretion of players who kneeled in larger numbers after criticism from President Donald Trump. Commissioner Roger Goodell told club executives Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, in a memo obtained by The Associated Press that the anthem issue is dividing the league from its fans. He said the NFL needs “to move past this controversy.” (AP Photo/File)

    EDITOR'S NOTE: Boris Epshteyn formerly served as a Senior Advisor to the Trump Campaign and served in the White House as Special Assistant to The President and Assistant Communications Director for Surrogate Operations.

    WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) Politics is everywhere, that now includes football. One of the biggest stories this year is NFL players protesting during the national anthem.

    The players have given a multitude of reasons for their actions, mostly centered over racial injustice.

    The issue was elevated when President Trump harshly criticized the protests.

    The president focused this discussion around patriotism and is therefore on very firm political ground with his constituents, the American people.

    Polls - including the Associated Press, CBS news, and Reuters – show that a majority of Americans believe athletes should stand for the anthem.

    Now, it appears that the NFL is finally listening to its customers, the fans, and the president who speaks for our country.

    NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to all 32 teams stating, “we believe that everyone should stand for the national anthem.” The owners of the Cowboys and the Dolphins have already made clear that players on their teams will not play if they do not stand for the anthem. The owners as a whole are going to discuss a league wide rule mandating that players stand for the anthem.

    Here is the bottom line: the political result of this debate will be a strengthening of the president’s support, not just among his base, but the large majority of Americans who are extremely patriotic.

    I will tell you first hand that the president is authentically, truly bothered when our flag, anthem, military or country are disrespected. Standing up for our national symbols will be immensely helpful to the president and Republican Party as a whole this year, in next year’s midterm elections, and all the way through 2020.

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