It is amazing how life imitates art. How sports—particularly football—imitates political art. And vice versa.
Franchise moves have dominated so much of the conversation. The NFL is moving two teams to Los Angeles. The Republicans have moved the “Winter White House” from Camp David to Palm Beach and want to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The expense, logistics, exposure and security concerns are almost identical.
There have been logistical moves on all fronts. The Chargers, going from San Diego to L.A., will have to play in a 30,000-seat stadium for two seasons, or about the size of crowds Trump claims he draws at every rally. (Uh, Donald, the election is over. Stop campaigning.) Trump, of course, is overestimating. The Chargers, of course, deserve to play to an audience of only that size.
We haven’t even mentioned that the Raiders moving to Las Vegas from Oakland is tantamount to Trump moving from New York to D.C. He didn’t bring his wife. Moreover, Raider fans probably won’t either—not to Vegas.
Trump’s move to the new “Winter White House” has had him conducting official government business in front of citizens unauthorized for those security levels, let alone infringing on their dining but letting everyone and anyone cast a cell phone flashlight app on the confidential materials. No hacking possibilities there, right? Meanwhile, the Chargers are infringing on the Rams, which is why they get the kids table until the adult table is ready. And you know there are some confidential materials there we haven’t seen.
Media relations have also been a problem. Trump speaks, or tweets, and almost immediately his surrogates are out there explaining what he meant. In other words, covering up his fabrications and lies. About inauguration crowd size and scandals in the popular vote. About his “record” margin in the electoral vote. and The Bowling Green Massacre. (I thought it was the Music City Miracle.). And about the attacks in Sweden (“What has he been smoking?”).
The NFL too has to re-explain its positions. On concussions and settling (and re-settling) with the players—except it’s still not done. About deflated footballs and suspensions. About erroneous calls by referees, upheld anyway by replay. And about players suspended for life (and when they’re coming back anyway). Looking at you, Josh Gordon.
Then there’s foreign policy. Trump favors the two-state solution. In the Middle East, that is. Well he did yesterday. Now it’s one state. He also favors One China. Except when he doesn’t. And he hasn’t done the NFL any favors in Europe. Or Mexico.
The NFL keeps playing in Europe, especially London, and in Mexico City. But Brits are bitterly debating whether to have Trump over for an official state visit. But it’s OK to have the Jaguars play the Bills or whoever at Wembley Stadium. Trump wants to build a wall to keep Mexicans out of the United States. But it’s OK for the NFL to play games there. You don’t suppose that’s so players can smuggle drugs and PEDs back in, do you?
The NFL and White House are full of bad boys. President Trump lies. Hall-of-Fame candidate T.O. complains. About everything. Kellyanne Conway says we’re under attack in Bowling Green. NFL fans complain they’re under attack from insensitive owners. All the time.
Has anyone watched those town hall meetings lately? I think it’s NFL fans complaining about ticket prices, the insensitivity of franchise moves relative to fans’ feelings and anything to do with Jay Cutler.
Yes, politics and football make strange bedfellows. They exist in parallel universes. What they have in common? We finance them both.