The Atlantic

The NFL’s Truce With Trump Wasn’t Worth It

The league sacrificed its decency to buy the president’s silence, only to discover that with Trump, loyalty is a one-way street.
Source: Mike Segar / Reuters

Heading into Super Bowl Sunday, the NFL probably believed that it had Donald Trump exactly where it wanted him. Which is to say, it had him quiet. But the NFL discovered that no amount of bootlicking will control the president’s mouth.

The president had mostly ceased his fiery, public rebukes of the NFL and its handling of Colin Kaepernick’s protest. Trump’s broadsides were theatrical and effective, and showcased his political muscle. Nothing usually frightens the NFL, but the president had successfully punked the most powerful sports league in America into silencing player protests, while simultaneously exacting long-awaited vengeance on the NFL for subverting his numerous attempts to become a franchise owner.

You might think the NFL’s strategic behind-the-scenes groveling and appeals to the president’s ego would have bought the league even more leeway with Trump,

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