Bock’s Score: Trump vs. The Eagles

From time to time, a franchise in the National Concussion League goes on the market and there is never a shortage of bidders with fat wallets anxious to get in on the action. That’s because owning a football team is a license to print money.

So it was no accident that Donald Trump, who has great affection for dollars and has accumulated plenty of them, twice tried to buy teams in this league, first in Indianapolis and then in Buffalo. However, the other owners are rather picky about adding new partners to their fraternity. They examined Mr. Trump’s credentials and twice told him to take a walk.

Trump does not suffer rejection kindly. He holds grudges, which is why he is so interested in the Concussion League. When the league added some safety measures two years ago, the president complained that the game was getting soft. When players started to take a knee during the National Anthem to protest social injustice, the president charged them with disrespecting the flag and the country.

Trump enjoys payback. So when the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles advised the White House that only a few members of the team would be visiting the White House to celebrate their victory with the president, he disinvited them. Take that!

He replaced their visit with a ceremony to celebrate patriotism and the flag that included the singing of “God Bless America.’’ At least one of the prominent podium guests did not know the words.

Not exactly heartbroken by the rejection, the Eagles simply went back about their business of preparing for the new season. Trump, meanwhile, kept up his attack. When the league proposed a compromise for their protests, permitting players to remain in their locker rooms during the playing of the Anthem, the president grumbled that instead of being off the field at that moment, “maybe they should be out of the country.’’

That came some months after an election rally rant in which the president shouted that protesting players should be fired. It was like The Apprentice, Trump’s reality television show revisited. “They’re fired.’’ The president roared.

Championship teams have snubbed or been snubbed by Trump before. After a nasty Twitter tirade, the Golden State Warriors went to Washington as NBA champions two years ago, but instead of the White House they toured an African-American museum. The Warriors repeated their championship this season and advised the White House that a visit there was not on their agenda. And by the way, the Cleveland Cavaliers announced in advance that they would not be going in the event they beat the Warriors. They lost, so it was not a problem.

Championship sports teams have visited the White House since as early as 1865 when a couple of amateur baseball teams stopped by to see the president. There have been occasional interruptions in the tradition because of national events that would make celebrations unseemly.

That brings us to this season and the National Hockey League Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals. You can be sure that the Caps will show up to see President Trump. Their roster includes a fistful of Russians.

About the Author

Hal Bock

Hal Bock is a contributor with NY Sports Day. He has covered sports for 40 years at The Associated Press including 30 World Series, 30 Super Bowls and 11 Olympics. He is the author of 14 books including most recently The Last Chicago Cubs Dynasty and Banned Baseball's Blacklist of All-Stars and Also-Rans. He has written scores of magazine articles and served as Journalist In Residence at Long Island University's Brooklyn campus where he also served on the selection committee for the George Polk Awards.

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