The NFL is set to kick off its’ 100th season on Thursday, and at least one prominent sports journalist and NFL veteran agree that football fans should expect even more political controversy on the gridiron.
On Fox Nation’s “Deep Dive”, James Freeman spoke to Fox Sports radio host, Clay Travis and retired NFL player, Marvin Washington about the state of the game.
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Travis believes that politically-charged statements, like former quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem, will only increase as the electoral season accelerates.
“You know it’s going to be controversial next year in 2020… We got an election going on. Who knows who will be running against each other. It’s not as if sports is immune from what the rest of the nation is talking about, so I think next year… it will be wild,” said Travis.
Travis added that the controversy doesn’t come without a cost, and he harkened back to the days of NBA legend Michael Jordan, “There is a reason I think why Michael Jordan is still the most popular athlete in the country…he appealed to everyone with his excellence in sports and allowed that to be the hallmark of his brand.”
Freeman asked retired NFL star Marvin Washington if he believes that NFL fans will see more of the “Jordan model” or the “Kaepernick model.”
“I think you are going to see a combination of them both… I had two heroes in the 1970s. I had Muhammad Ali and the guy who made it into the mainstream, OJ Simpson,” said Washington, “Now you have a more socially-conscious athlete… I’m fine with either way you want to go because it’s you as an individual — because it is freedom of speech and it’s freedom of choice.”
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Travis concluded that it is the nature of social media to be divisive and that may ultimately hurt athletes financially.
“Social media is about filling, typically, a niche… To me, the Michael Jordan’s of the world… trying to appeal to the entire universe of the audience — I feel like we have kind of lost that opportunity,” said Travis, concluding “I understand the idea of wanting to share your political views… but I feel like doing that while in uniform at work is probably not the best in terms of the business.”
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