Following President Donald Trump tweets on the mostly dying fire that is the story of NFL players kneeling during the anthem, only seven members of the SanFrancisco 49ers kneeled last weekend.
According to the Mercury News, only Eric Reid — who joined Colin Kaepernick in protesting last year — Marquise Goodwin, Adrian Colbert, Dekoda Watson, Eli Harold, Arik Armstead and K’Wuan Williams kneeled during the game early Sunday against the Washington Redskins. The rest of the team interlocked arms — something players across the league did after President Trump lambasted kneeling NFL players during a rally about a month ago in Alabama.
A week ago, the San Francisco 49ers had 23 players kneel as part of their protest of police brutality. It had expanded into an all out protest of the current government in power after Vice President Pence showed up to watch the Niners play the Colts in Indianapolis last week. Pence left the game as soon as the players knelt during the anthem.
Critics say the Vice-President aimed to score political points with his base by wasting anywhere between $250k and $400k taxpayers dollars on a game. Just a week ago it was thought that the Niners would come out with a full show of force again. But that clearly wasn’t the case despite the fact that they were only a few minutes away from Trump and his cabinet in Washington, D.C.
While this could point to the beginning of the end of the NFL protests, especially as the league attempts to create new rules to stop players from kneeling, it’s also losing its base in terms of television ratings. That doesn’t mean that the protests weren’t impactful.
Regardless of where you stand politically, you have to admit that these protests would’ve been a lot less impactful had the President of the United States not gotten involved in the conversation.
Sure, the point of the protests has mostly been lost as they were protesting police brutality, not the flag or the military as some have claimed — mostly conservatives. It did give the protests a lot of exposure in the 24-hour news cycle for about a week.
Sure, President Trump was also able to distract from other news at the same time. So in theory it also helped him, but there has to be some moderate voters out there who took the opportunity to learn more about police brutality and in the end that’s what this was all about.