Says Michael Kruse on Politico.com:

As this racially polarizing president revs debates about Black lives and white grievance, monuments to generals of the Confederacy and the stars and bars of the rebel flag, the American colossus of professional football, too, is sure to be a regular flashpoint of his reelection campaign in these 3½ months till November 3.

The NFL has proven to be not merely the country’s largest sports entertainment property but one of its most prominent fronts of perennial culture wars as well.

And if this season starts as scheduled on September 10, it almost certainly will look like no other year. Set against a backdrop of one of the most important presidential elections in the annals of a nation that’s being wracked by a world-historic pandemic, the televised games promise to produce images of kneeling players in sparsely filled stadiums, a ripe target for a president who often has been eager to pit the fortunes of the league against his own.

With Trump reeling—his approval ratings and poll numbers plunging and a growing majority of the nation increasingly skeptical that he and his administration can muster an effective response in the face of the unrelenting spread of the coronavirus—it might seem odd he’d pick this fight.

For Trump, though, it’s not just about 2020, or even the past few years. It is a deeply personal feud that goes back decades.


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