President Donald Trump has had no problems holding back against the sports world, especially Roger Goodell and the NFL, in recent years.
Trump, a longtime sports fan who once tried buying the Buffalo Bills, has waged war with the NFL about everything from Colin Kaepernick to Tom Brady.
After years of hearing those criticisms, Goodell just revealed his plan for how he’ll combat President Trump and defend the football community.
Donald Trump has frequently blasted Roger Goodell and the NFL
There have been no shortages of conflicts between Donald Trump and the NFL since he took office in 2017.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been Trump’s biggest target. Trump blasted Kaepernick in 2017, a year after Kaepernick took a knee for the national anthem, and called him a “son of a b—.”
Kaepernick, a former second-round pick who led San Francisco to the Super Bowl after the 2012 season, hasn’t played in the NFL since January 2017.
Trump has also discussed the NFL’s TV ratings and criticized Goodell for a statement he released earlier this year. Goodell said the league was “wrong” in how it previously handled player protests.
On June 7, Trump tweeted the following message about Goodell, the NFL’s commissioner since 2006.
“Could it be even remotely possible that in Roger Goodell’s rather interesting statement of peace and reconciliation, he was intimating that it would now be O.K. for the players to KNEEL, or not to stand, for the National Anthem, thereby disrespecting our Country & our Flag?”
Goodell never publicly acknowledged Trump’s tweet.
Goodell has a plan to combat Donald Trump
If Donald Trump criticizes the NFL this season, Roger Goodell has a plan in place.
A tentative plan, at least. In an exclusive interview with NBC Sports, Goodell answered what would happen if Trump attacked the league on one of his various platforms.
“I guess you know these things. You’re going into hypotheticals, you know, maybe it will, maybe it won’t. I think we said we’re going to support our players. This is a peaceful protest and we’re going to support them if they choose to do that.”
In other words, Goodell’s strategy is to roll with the punches and ignore anything President Trump says.
Will Roger Goodell’s plan be enough for the league?
Roger Goodell’s strategy is a sound one, and his open inferral the league will simply ignore President Trump should inspire hope among his employees.
But will that strategy work? Donald Trump has never held back against the NFL and addressing his biggest targets could become a priority as he runs for re-election.
In a year where the NFL, as a league, has rallied around one another amid a global pandemic and social inequality, Goodell’s intent to turn the other cheek could only go so far if Trump frequently blasts the NFL.
The NFL is committed to addressing societal issues, and Goodell is adamant that won’t change. That is what the players and coaches needed to hear with the season just days away.
The seemingly never-ending war between Donald Trump and the NFL, even if the league doesn’t want to admit it, will be one of the more important stories this fall.