President Trump’s call for NFL owners to fire or suspend players that fail to stand for the national anthem, was met with a series of player statements on Sunday. Players across the league protesting racial injustice and police brutality; locked arms, took a knee or failed to come out entirely, for the singing of the national anthem. On Monday, Nike (NKE) became the first NFL sponsors to publicly side with the players, saying “Nike supports athletes and their right to freedom of expression on issues that are of great importance to our society.” Hyundai (HYMTF) followed that statement with one of their own saying “we stand for and respect individuals’ freedoms to express their First Amendment rights in any peaceful manner in which they choose. We also stand for inclusion, freedom and all that represents those values”. Bose wrapped up the day saying “we respect that freedom (to express your views), whether we agree with those views or not. The balance of the league’s sponsors have either remained quiet or taken a more “patriotic” position.
Howie Long-Short: The pro-Trump crowd is looking to force the league’s hand, calling for a boycott of the league’s sponsors. You can find the hashtags #BoycottNFLSponsors and #PunchThemInTheWallet on various social media platforms. Don’t expect the campaign to work. There has already been (and will continue to be) an outpouring of support for the players and their 1st amendment rights.
Fan Marino: Within the last week we’ve seen a devastating hurricane in PR, a deadly earthquake in Mexico, North Korea accuse the U.S. of waging war, the unveiling of new travel restrictions and leaked details of a tax reform package; but 45 is focused on the NFL. Frankly, the lack of compassion is offensive and his inability to focus on what’s important is detrimental to the American people. The leader of the free world should be paying attention to the big picture. The decision to stand (or not to) for a national anthem is simply irrelevant in the grand scheme.