By Gary McIntyre
He’s been in office for eight months – and liberals still don’t understand President Donald Trump.
They’ve tried to damage him with stories about Trump bullying political opponents and business rivals.
But there’s one critical aspect of Trump’s personality that his attackers can’t seem to grasp.
Trump picks fights he knows he can win – and his latest war with the National Football League is no different.
Right now, Trump may be just days from bringing America’s most powerful sports league to its knees. And the NFL’s millionaire owners, players, and administrators still don’t see it coming.
Trump touched off a firestorm this weekend when he suggested that players who don’t stand for the national anthem should be fired. His comments drew quick criticism from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and dozens of players who knelt in protest Sunday.
But Trump and his millions of supporters are holding all the cards – and the NFL is about to learn that the hard way.
Can Trump really destroy professional football in America? Of course not.
But Trump and his supporters only need to hurt the NFL a little to induce widespread panic among the league, its sponsors, and television networks.
And they have more than enough power to do it.
Even before Trump’s comments, the NFL was in an anxiety-inducing ratings drop this season.
Hollywood Reporter reported that NFL ratings were down 15 percent through week 2, and some major NFL games have seen ratings slips of up to 28 percent.
Wall Street analysts are already panicking about NFL ratings. Shares of Comcast, Disney (which owns ESPN) and CBS are all down since the start of the season, as experts predict reduced earnings that could reach $200 million or more.
Now, Trump is calling for a boycott if the NFL doesn’t crack down on national anthem protests. And even if a Trump-induced boycott caused another 10-20 percent ratings dip, the NFL would have a serious crisis on its hands.
And Trump and his backers can easily pull it off.
Trump understands that he has literally nothing to lose by criticizing the protests. The backlash he’s facing comes from people who don’t support him anyway.
But most real Americans are vehemently against professional athletes protesting the national anthem.
A poll by Reuters found that 72 percent of Americans found the protests, first initiated by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, “unpatriotic.” And, of course, this is why NFL teams refused to sign Kaepernick in the offseason.
Now, NFL players are backing the league into a corner, and the situation could turn disastrous.
The Trump supporters most likely to honor a boycott are the NFL’s bread-and-butter demographic. Research has shown that Caucasians, men, and people over 55 are the largest NFL demographics – and Trump has shown tremendous influence with these groups.
Again, Trump doesn’t need to ruin the NFL – he just needs to bruise the league’s wallet for panic to erupt.
In his war with the NFL, President Donald Trump has a huge advantage. If he aggressively pursues a boycott, he could harm a cash cow that’s making these athletes-turned-protesters rich.
That’s when you’ll see these players standing for the anthem again.
Some may even salute the flag.