Super Bowl

Screw Donald Trump—Go Ahead, Sit During the Anthem: Podcast

Reason's Nick Gillespie, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Eric Boehm, and Andrew Heaton discuss the president's NFL feud, Graham-Cassidy, and tax reform.


At a rally in Alabama last week, President Trump lambasted NFL players for "disrespect[ing] the flag."

"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners…say 'get that son of a bitch off the field right now,'" Trump told the crowd. A few days later, he urged football fans to boycott the NFL unless the league takes action against players who refuse to stand during the Pledge of Allegiance.

Has Trump burst the only remaining non-political bubble in American culture? Not at all, says Reason's Nick Gillespie. "Sports is often seen as a kind of redoubt from serious activity, and I think that's wrong….Sports has always been politicized and I think it's a good thing to admit that."

In today's podcast, Gillespie was joined by Katherine Mangu-Ward, Eric Boehm, and Andrew Heaton to talk about Trump's rage against professional football, whether the Graham-Cassidy bill should replace Obamacare, and what Republicans should actually focus on with tax reform.

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  1. I love people clamoring that they have a right to protest — which they don’t. You do not have 1A protections while at work, period.

    Principals over Principles I guess.

    Also this is coming from the same group that got the Mozilla guy fired for making a prop 8 donation a decade ago. Or the same group that will get you fired over a tweet.

    The tinfoil hat in my is saying this is planned by the left to get the right to turn on football. The far left have always hated football, how American and how ‘barbaric’ it is, etc. So the best way to attack football is to make it unappealing to their fans.

    1. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances unless you are on the clock.

      1. Yeah, I’m not seeing the part where “Congress is making a law’ in this scenario.

        1. Yeah there are a lot of problems with esteve’s comment, not the least of which is that we are wasting precious seconds of our lives reading it.

          1. I believe what is being argued is that the First Amendment doesn’t protect you from work consequences. It’s probably a counter to the idea that’s being floated in the Twitters that Trump’s drunk-brother-in-law notions on kneeling will somehow translate into law.

            1. I think there’s a lot of First Amendment exercising going on! Protesters free to say what they want, Trump free to give his take, owners, pundits, man there’s 1A all up in this muthafucka.

              As it should be.

              1. No, can’t you see? Only the players and movie stars have 1A rights, not the president.

                1. Well, Donald J. Trump certainly has First Amendment rights. But it is a bit troubling when someone speaking as the President of the United States begins to tell private businesses what they should do in response to their employees’ exercise of their freedom of speech.

                  The OP is absolutely wrong that people don’t have the right to free speech at work, but I understand what he’s getting at. You ALWAYS have freedom of speech, but that doesn’t protect you from consequences of your speech when you are at work: it’s not that the government can punish you for speech at work, but your employer can.

                  So what do you do when the President of the United States, someone who can exercise a great deal of power over private business, tells your employer what they should do if you engage in speech/protest that he doesn’t approve of? Is there a point (which I don’t think we’ve reached) in which the President’s statements can be seen as coercion, pressure or threats against your employer if you aren’t fired for that speech/protest? And if so, does that then become a violation of the First Amendment against both you and your employer?

              2. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

                This is what I do…

        2. Again you do not have freedom of speech or freedom of protest at work, since your employer can punish you for that. 1A only applies to the government. Christ, people.

          The NFL fines players for endzone celebrations, or for saying the ref made a bad call, or for wearing flag cleats on 9/11. If they wanted to they could fine them for kneeling at the anthem, or for speaking XYZ to the media, but they don’t. If they want to allow that then that is their decision, but please don’t pretend you have absolute freedom of speech or protest at work.

          1. Of course you have freedom of speech at work. The fact that you aren’t insulated from the consequences of that speech when uttered at work doesn’t mean that you don’t have that freedom, any more than the fact that you can get fired for going to the range to shoot with your buddies when you were supposed to be at work means you don’t have Second Amendment rights.

    2. Nobody’s firing them for kneeling so what are you bitching about?

      You don’t think the head of the federal government telling their bosses what they should do in response to their free expression is a bit problematic?

      1. I am trying to get them fired, since I have not given money to the NFL for decades.

        1. Is that because black athletes started expressing opinions, or because they were being admitted at all?

          1. Finding a way to protest that won’t involve spitting in the face of all those who gave their lives for your freedom to protest might be a good start.

              1. Over 10 million people died from his kneeling.

              2. To the customers of the NFL tho?

            1. I don’t think anyone’s face is actually being spit on. Certainly, spitting on the face of a corpse would not be a good way of protesting. But when was the last time people actually “gave their lives for your freedom to protest”? Probably the War of 1812. If “you” are black, then maybe the Civil War, maybe not. But most of America’s wars have been fought for other purposes, regardless of platitudes that claim otherwise.


                Also Tony: WOW JUST WOW these HATEFUL BIGOTS need to learn that Freeze Peach? doesn’t mean freedom from consequences!

            2. If anyone dies for a flag, he or she is an idiot. Dying for the principles that are symbolized by the flag might make you a hero…but one of those principles includes the freedom to protest in whatever way you choose that doesn’t actually harm someone else. Taking a knee during the national anthem doesn’t seem to harm anyone else. if it is offensive, then those who are offended have every right, under the same principle, to disagree, to not do business with those who offend them, and to otherwise counter that protest with their own expression.

              This is actually working itself out the way it should be, with the possible exception of the President inserting himself into it.

          2. and what exactly are you protesting? Some mythical ethereal white privilege force? Blah blah blah racism?

            How about you point out an actual racist policy or law and we can fight it together.

            But no, that’s not what you believe in. If you were hones and used your equity argument, people would laugh you out, which is why it’s easier for you just to cry racist and blah blah blah

            1. If you don’t think there’s a problem with cops killing black people, then there’s nothing more to talk about. All lives matter! Let’s ignore real problems because you are uncomfortable with the subject of race.

              1. The problem of cops killing blacks is dwarfed, by orders of magnitude, by the problem of blacks killing blacks.

          3. White middle class pay 300 dollars to watch football games dominated by blacks.

            “You’re only upset because black people are expressing their opinions! Yes, you can see that they’re black!”

            Nobody cares about American football outside of America. But everyone other than Americans love the other football (which is arguably the most racist sports ever) I don’t care about either footballs, but my math sez if enough white people boycott the NFL, it WILL DIE. The game has nowhere else to go. The precious non white people Roger Goodell want to bring together will not save them by packing the stadiums.

            No one in the NFL can just say “Can you guys just stand for the 3 minutes the anthem is playing” and make this go away? Why a billion dollar enterprise that thrives mostly on local support want to turn away their core customers is beyond me. It’s insane, to be honest. You think some Japanese soccer team can survive by charging 300 bucks for tickets. But in America NFL can do just that. You have people saying “Take my money so I can watch like 20 minutes of actual action on the field” and you want to mess with them. It’s so FUCKING insane.

          4. Oh thank goodness Tony. I was worried that someone wouldn’t play the race card.

      2. No, it’s not problematic. Presidents have Free Speech, they can favor and disfavor different people, products, companies, etc. They can even pass laws against products/people/etc that they don’t like.

        1. And I can call him a racist fucktard.

        2. “They can even pass laws against products/people/etc that they don’t like.”

          You mean bills of attainder? Yeah, pretty sure that’s not legal here. If you don’t believe me, you can check your Constitution…and while you’re at it, you can also read up on who passes laws, as opposed to who signs them.

    3. At the same time, the NFL also has a right to permit the protests. The players may not have 1A protections while on the field, but that does NOT mean they can’t protest. They can protest if their boss lets them protest, no matter how said it makes Baby Trump feel.

  2. Just when I think the culture war couldn’t possibly be any dumber, Trump goes and does something like this…

    1. He’s jumping on a very popular bandwagon, he didn’t invent the issue.

      It’s not as if the rubes are waiting for Trump to tell them what to think about millionaires parading their dislike of their country’s flag.

      1. They have default settings, but Trump can turn the dial to a surprising degree. I think the rubes even like Nancy Pelosi right now.

        1. Nobody likes Pelosi..

          1. She’s the Ted Cruz of Democrats!

      2. Wait, the protests are about not liking the flag? What is it they don’t like about it? The colors? The number of stripes?

  3. RE: Screw Donald Trump?Go Ahead, Sit During the Pledge: Podcast

    Let me fix this headline.
    Screw Donald Trump.
    That’s much better.

  4. “Screw Donald Trump?Go Ahead, Sit During the Pledge: Podcast”

    Yes, because Trump is clearly leading public opinion here, rather than exploiting pre-existing sentiment.

    1. I like how the kneeling protests were supposed to be about criminal justice ? a topic supposedly quite important to this magazine ? yet now The Hair and company are pushing for protesting simply to be anti-Trump (and not even for any policy reasons).

      1. The press (whether the mainstream press, the political press, or the sports press) today are all shouting back and forth about Trump today ? virtue signaling back-and-forth one way or the other, no one mentioning the police or criminal suspects. Charles Barkley is literally the only person who’s mentioned how athletes need to use their currently-increased platform to actually talk about those original issues (noting that “the media aren’t your allies”).

  5. I’m starting to think that “ostentatiously taking a side on every stupid fucking culture-war flap” isn’t really a sign of deep-thinking, mature people.

    1. Hey reason needs to pay the bills, and that means they need content.

      Or were you talking about Trump?

    2. As in most culture-war flaps, both sides are being retarded.

      As someone observed this morning, the players refusing to participate in the civic religion are probably pissing off half of their fans. Teams firing or punishing the players for doing so would probably piss off the other half of the fans.

      Fortunately, I care very little about both NFL football and civic religion, so it’s just sort of funny.

      1. Oh I’d bet it’s way more than half. Sports bars aren’t exactly a big SJW hangout.

        Trump isn’t so much a crazy-man shouting at clouds, as urban intellectual types (including many reason writers) seem to think. He’s pretty much just a typical conservative old person on cultural issues.

        1. I’m thinking more of the firings or other disruptions to the teams than the reasons behind them. I’m guessing that most fans are more interested in football than the politics of the players or team owners/managers.

          1. I’d like to agree with you, but the seemingly large number of people who engage in superficial tribalism is troubling.

            You’d think it was 1972 and Colin Kaepernick just did a photo op with the North Vietnamese army.

            1. On that note, I was also thinking that typical fans probably hate the new england patriots, for example, more than local players who misbehave according to their sensibilities.

            2. I’d probably find him much more attractive if he did.

        2. He’s pretty much just a typical conservative old person on cultural issues.

          And I more or less agree on that. But Trump always turns it up to 11.

          1. I’m not even certain on that. I don’t think he really has many particular views himself. I think just amplifies the viewpoints he perceives to be held by his base.

  6. Screw Donald Trump?Go Ahead, Sit During the Pledge

    Hate America because Hate Trump


    1. Who said anything about hating America?

      1. What else would you call disrespecting THE FLAG?

        1. Didn’t Trump hump the flag once? Granted that’s probably what he thinks showing respect for something means.

          1. He grabbed it by the grommet, technically.

            1. They let you do it when you’re a star.

              1. That’s when he showed his true stripes.

        2. The flag is a symbol of the US. It represents not only the best that has been done in the name of this country but also the worst. So if you want to honor 70 plus years of sending young men and women to their deaths in pointless wars that made us less safe while the government did it’s best to dismantle the Constitution and erode our natural rights, you are more than welcome too. I will not honor a flag that represents the state’s contempt for the people.

          1. It’s more about the guys back in the 1770’s.

    2. Tinpot Dictator Syndrome?

      1. I thought only Tony liked North Korea’s leader Fat Boy-Un?

        1. He likes shaving your mom’s back, though it does take hours… He says it’s oddly satisfying somehow.

          1. Like raking a Japanese rock garden?

          2. I have seen the Tin pot dictator from North Korea on Youtube shaving your dad’s vagina. It was gross. Looked like someone ice skating on meat drapes.

        2. Robespierre Josef Stalin does as well.

  7. Wouldn’t you love to see one of these congresses, when some president disrespects our First Amendment, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch out of office right now. Out! He’s impeached. He’s impeached!’

  8. Next up: Trump just tweeted “hippies stink, use deodorant.” Show your defiance of Trump by not using deodorant ever again!

    1. …and never wipe your butt. Now that’s defiance!

  9. Can we just pause and appreciate how both sides are considering kneeling an act of defiance?

    1. Shakespearean kings arise from their graves in confusion.

  10. The “nfl”….the “nba”…..freak’n bunch of leftist, coward, thug asswipes.

    Why do you people watch that shit?

    1. If we locked you in a room with one of those athletes, and asked you to say that directly to their face I have a funny feeling that we’d find out pretty quick who the coward is.

      1. Oooh look at the internet tough guy by proxy!!

    2. I like to watch sports, especially those played at the highest level. Additionally, I possess the ability to have a nuanced thought process that helps me understand that just because someone is in the NBA or NFL does not automatically make them a thug or a leftist or a coward.

      But that’s me.

      1. ” I possess the ability to have a nuanced thought process”

        And yet you fail to demonstrate any ability to use it.

        1. I made the same joke more concisely. Stop ripping off my gimmick of sucking.

          1. No you actually didn’t. You just said “nu uh”. You didn’t even actually make a joke.

            Stop being jealous of better posters.

    3. It’s the only event where I don’t mind partaking in the tribalist collectivism. Not to mention they’re the best athletes in the world, and watching a well-run, well-coached team in any sport is a thing of beauty

  11. They say the Pledge of Allegiance at NFL games?

    1. It’s all the same thing. Song, chant, prayer. It’s fucking weird, that’s what it is. Statists love that shit though.

    2. Don’t forget the loyalty oaths.
      Otherwise the capitalists will win.

    3. Do kids even know the Pledge of Allegiance anymore, I don’t think there is anyone teaching them that? It’s dead as soon as we are.

      1. They do it in my daughter’s class, but it’s “optional.” And this is in one of the most progressive counties in CA.

        1. This surprises me; thanks for the edification.

  12. They do the anthem at the opera, and I’ve never seen anyone take the knee there. I guess there are limits to protesting, and having your nose in a an old lady’s ass is one of them.

    1. They do the anthem at the opera

      They do?

      1. At mine they do. Spotlight on the flag, the pit plays the song. Very dramatic.

    2. I have been to 100s of operas and there would be nothing more out of place than the anthem.

  13. “nfl”…..what loser, coward, thug assholes.

    Why do so many of you people watch that shit? I’m north of 65 and have never understood what the Hell the draw was.

    Pardon me while I go weld a new chassis, then fly my Cessna.

    1. Some of us don’t see the draw of having our nuts frozen.

    2. No accounting for taste. I’m no huge sports fan, but I enjoy watching people play a game from time to time.

    3. “Pardon me while I go weld a new chassis, then fly my Cessna.”

      Why would you do servant’s work?

  14. I just burned an NFL flag and took a big stinking dump on the ashes.

    1. Was a yellow flag thrown by the ref?

  15. Trumpty Dumpty dividing America up between his white trash redneck supporters and the rest of us.

    Good Times!

    1. “Trumpty Dumpty”


      SO WITTY!!







    2. are you even trying anymore?

      1. He lost and he’s come to terms with it. These are the death throes.

        1. Really does seem to be the case that he’s mailing it in. Maybe personal problems?

  16. I appreciate you Heaton. I hope you read the comments, because I like your jokes.

    1. I just wish he’d shave those sideburns.

  17. Football is entertainment. If NFL customers are not entertained by spoiled millionaires interjecting their politics into their Sunday afternoon, then there is an easy solution.

    Kapernic doesn’t “deserve” a job, no matter how good he is at football. He is not entertaining. besides that, he is wrong about the supposed mistreatment of black people by cops; the statistics clearly show that black people are not mistreated by cops.

    1. I’m a 49er fan, and Kaep is a 3rd backup at best. I could list the football related reasons why he’s not a good QB, but I don’t think you guys care. Bottom line is he doesn’t deserve a job. anyone with a 3rd QB spot would try out a draft pick / young player rather then give a shot on Kaep.

      1. You’re right, I don’t care about “football reasons”. Kapernic could be the reincarnation of Joe Montana, and he still would not deserve a job. He is injecting politics, stupid politics at that, into what should be a simple few hours of entertainment. Kap is an asshole who does not appreciate how good his life is. The guy is a multimillionaire in his twenties. Pro football has created more black millionaires than any profession I can think of.

        I wish I was a football fan so I could stop watching it. Fuck football. Fuck the NFL. I would be quite happy if the entire league went bankrupt, so those pathetic whiners could try to make a living with their brains.

      2. “Bottom line is he doesn’t deserve a job. anyone with a 3rd QB spot would try out a draft pick / young player rather then give a shot on Kaep.”

        He was just good enough to throw away a chance at a SB ring exactly once in his career and since then, has steadily decreased in skills (and value). What other QB in the history of the game made every down an adventure, fans wondering if he’d call the snap before another delay of game penalty?
        And then, like the hag, he’s got enough baggage to keep his own local of the Porters Union in business to haul it around. I don’t know the name of his agent, and I’m pretty sure a lot of aspiring pro athletes also don’t want to know; he got some baaad advice.
        And regardless of turd’s claim that Trump got bit in the ass by his idiotic tweets, the NFL is now up to its armpits in controversy which it cannot win; some portion of the fan base is going to be pissed either way. REALLY dumb move, Goodell.
        I’m a fair-weather 9ers fan; if they are entertaining, I’ll watch. Ditto sports in general. If I have to mute the TV for 20 minutes of political comment from sports announcers, it’s a good bet I have a book which is more entertaining. I’m getting in a lot of reading.

  18. I realized that I must be doing it wrong when I stood for the pledge before Monday Night Football here in my apartment. Sorry Nick!

    (I did the same before two of the games I watched at home yesterday and, of yeah, at the bar where I watched the early game ? because it’s our fucking flag, motherfuckers!)

  19. Why do we play the national anthem at the beginning of sporting events anyways?

    When I went to see Wonder Woman I wasn’t enraged by the fact the theater didn’t start off the days entertainment by making everyone in the theater stand up and since the national anthem.

    1. Based on the behavior of the owners, I’m guessing that the national anthem stuff isn’t based on the owners’ deep-seated beliefs, but is a tradition backed up by fan preference, and that it’s not something the current owners would have introduced on their own.

    2. Stormy Dragon|9.25.17 @ 10:19PM|#
      “Why do we play the national anthem at the beginning of sporting events anyways?”

      Virtue signalling.
      End it now; the world needs less jingoism, not more.

  20. OT, distantly related to cities giving the farm to build a sports stadium:

    “Concord to team up with other Bay Area cities on Amazon HQ bid”
    “Unlike the race to lure car manufacturers to the South in the ’90s, this competition has more to do with quality of life than tax breaks.”…..227552.php

    That last comment is not from Amazon; it’s from the same sort of dimbulb as Pelosi who once claimed that SF was so wonderful, no company would ever leave because of taxes!
    Pretty sure this will end up being a tax-break competition; Bezos is not in business to fund lefty causes.

    1. If Amazon fled from Seattle to SF my mind would be blown. I imagine they’re going to try to get out of high-cost high-tax domains. I’m expecting outside Austin or something, honestly. Amazon has a rather famous internal policy of thrift.

      1. Agreed, at least for one of high tax or high cost. My guess is Baltimore. It’d be an East Coast foothold with proximity to D.C without the cost. Pittsburgh would have worked, except for the lack of a major air hub.

        At first I was impressed at our local Twin Cities politicians’ refusal to give Amazon tax breaks. But of course, it was because they just didn’t want to make Target and Best Buy mad. I’ll just take what I can get.

    2. “the South…tax breaks.”

      You can almost see the contempt dripping from the writer’s pen.

  21. Screw the NFL! I’ll watch Premier League association football and Aviva Premiership rugby football instead. American-style football is out of touch with most nations outside North America anyways.

  22. Really why does anyone give a shit what these overpaid prima donna’s do? I don’t.

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