The NFL is in trouble.
The anti-American anthem protests did irrevocable damage to the league’s brand.
Now, something happened that gave the NFL yet another headache.
The NFL keeps shooting itself in the foot.
The league suffered from a replacement referee scandal that even cost one team playoff seeding.
The NFL received bad press from a rash of domestic violence cases.
The worst involved former runningback Ray Rice punching and dragging his then-girlfriend off an elevator.
And the San Francisco 49ers recently released star linebacker Reuben Foster after his arrest for domestic violence.
But perhaps the biggest pock against the league was the anti-American anthem protest outbreak.
In a game in Mexico City, one player knelt for the Star-Spangled Banner but stood for the Mexican national anthem.
Several members of the Jacksonville Jaguars did the same thing before a game in London.
Since Colin Kaepernick started the protests in 2016, the NFL took a big hit.
Stadium attendance fell, television ratings tumbled, and advertising revenue slid.
Now the league has another mess to clean up.
The NFL is a violent sport.
But the league hates when the violence extends outside the game.
It gives the sport’s critics ammunition.
That’s what the NFL is dealing with after this past weekend.
Last year, the Jacksonville Jaguars participated in a brawl that almost spilled into the stands.
Sadly, they were involved in another ugly brawl this year.
This time in Buffalo against the Bills.
Coincidentally, both teams featured players who protested the anthem.
The Jaguars had their ugly episode in London.
And LeSean McCoy of the Bills intentionally performed his stretching routine during the anthem.
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Two players even squared off as if they were in a boxing ring.
The incident was another fail for league Commissioner Roger Goodell.
And he has bigger fish to fry.
War on Football
Perhaps the biggest issue facing the NFL is the problem of head injuries.
The film Concussion starring Will Smith was a two-hour hit piece against the NFL.
The movie focused on several players who experienced the condition known as CTE.
Symptoms of CTE include memory loss, confusion, headaches, violent outbursts, and suicidal ideation.
And thus far it can only be diagnosed via autopsy.
The league reached a settlement with former players worth $700 million.
And that number could go up.
The NFL is trying to legislate head trauma out of the game.
But it’s impossible.
However, some believe the crisis is overblown.
Former NFL fullback Merril Hoge believes left-wing activists are behind the uproar.
He might have a point.
Conservative author Daniel Flynn wrote a similar book detailing how safe football is in relation to sports like cycling or skateboarding.
Nevertheless, football has plenty of enemies.
That’s why the NFL can’t fight a battle on too many fronts.
Goodell should’ve nipped the anti-American anthem protests in the bud before they spread.
Instead, he appeased the left, which is always a mistake.