When President Donald Trump squared off against NFL players protesting the national anthem, he showed that American conservatives still have the numbers to defeat left-wing social justice crusades. The key to victory is having confidence in those numbers, choosing battles wisely, and refusing to retreat an inch once the battle has begun.
After siding with the players who knelt during the National Anthem on Sunday, September 24, NFL leadership has now practically conceded defeat. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter on October 10 to the executives of all 32 NFL teams, stating, “Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem.” The NFL owners will meet soon in New York to discuss whether to make standing for the anthem mandatory.
At an owners’ meeting after September 24, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder chided fellow executives for supporting the protests, warning they will end up hurting the League’s bottom line. He drove home the point that a $40 million sponsor was seriously considering pulling out.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who locked arms and knelt with his players before the anthem, recently announced that he will bench any of his players who don’t stand.
Jones’ about-face ruffled at least one Cowboy’s feathers. ESPN reporter Josina Anderson tweeted an unidentified player’s text to her:
#Cowboys player cont: "Jerry told us to trust in him on this sit'n. Now I don't know what 2 believe.That whole kneel b4 t/ anthem was trash"
— Josina Anderson (@JosinaAnderson) October 11, 2017
Trump has frequently bragged about his ability to win. After an early debate performance in the primaries, he released a statement, saying, “I am very proud of my great performance tonight. I am not a debater, but I am a winner.”
He later told a crowd in Albany, New York, “You’re going to be so proud of your country if I get in … we’re going to win so much, you may even get tired of winning.”
At first look, this seems the epitome of arrogance. But Trump didn’t become a multi-billionaire by losing tough battles. Trump’s hard-headed rhetorical assault on unpatriotic NFL players caused the League’s approval numbers to fall and its corporate backers and advertisers to panic. He forced them to capitulate, or maybe cap-tweet-pitulate would be a better way of putting it.
Many conservatives only believe in playing by conventional rules. The only problem is that the Left has never played by conventional rules, leaving these same conservatives to lose by default.
Trump seems to understand this.
In this case, he knew he had the numbers, he picked the fight on his terms, and when people just wanted the stress and conflict to end, he doubled down and hit harder. That is what separates victory from defeat.
Goodell’s letter to NFL owners contains an important nugget. “We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us.” When patriotic customers speak, even the most socially leftist of corporate entities know they better pay attention.