So says the New York Times’ Michael Powell:

We might pity the owners, who have prostrated themselves before Trump with so much scraping and mewling. At least two-thirds are Republicans and about a half-dozen contributed $100,000 to the President’s inaugural festivities.

Robert Kraft, the owner of the Patriots, wrote a check for a cool million, and his coach, Bill Belichick, wrote an unctuous letter of endorsement during the campaign.

Last month, the owners jettisoned all previous assertions of principle and dignity and agreed not only to allow themselves to punish players who show disrespect during the national anthem — they get to decide the definition of disrespect — but to fine any team that tolerates such outbursts of principle.

And of course no owner has offered a job to quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started all this, or defensive back Eric Reid, who has been plenty outspoken.

And still Trump lashes them.

We might recall the roots of this lousy little morality play. Last September, Trump traveled to Alabama to campaign for a Republican United States Senate candidate who was not in great shape due to his alleged taste for dating underage women. Speaking before a vastly white and vastly conservative crowd, Trump decided to give them a jolt by calling out NFL owners for failing to discipline the handful of players who had taken a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality against the black community.

Squinting, his lips curled, Trump loosened a vaudevillian’s fury.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of those N.F.L. owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired!”

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