Monday, ESPN “First Take” co-host Stephen A. Smith awarded President Trump the win for having “successfully hijacked” the national anthem protests in the NFL.
Trump denounced the protests in September, causing players to protest the president and stand in unity around the league.
On Sunday, Vice President Mike Pence walked out of Lucas Oil Stadium when players knelt before the Indianapolis Colts hosted San Francisco 49ers.
“[V]ice President Pence, pushed forward by President Trump, decided to make this move,” Smith said. “It is what it is. In the end, what it really, really comes down to is the president has successfully hijacked this issue. He’s turned it into an issue about patriotism and beyond. He’s catering to his base in the process. And the biggest thing that he’s doing is that he’s pulling it all off hiding behind these issues when, in my opinion, his real agenda is going at the NFL community that didn’t let him in that good old boys club.”
He continued, “They didn’t let him in the 1980s when was an owner in the USFL. He has a history of exacting retribution to those who didn’t make him money. He turned it into something the players didn’t intend to they have to find a different mechanism to have their voices heard because Trump has won this round.”