Stephen A. Smith of ESPN said on Monday that President Donald Trump has “successfully hijacked” the issue with NFL players who protest the national anthem due to the league denying him the privilege of joining them in the 1980s, The Hill reported.
Smith believes Trump has deliberately started the dispute with the NFL to retaliate for not being allowed to become an owner of one of its teams.
“In the end what it really really comes down to is the president has successfully hijacked this issue. He’s turned it into an issue about patriotism and beyond, he’s catering to his base in the process and the biggest thing he’s doing is he’s pulling it all off hiding behind these issues when, in my opinion, his real agenda is going after an NFL community that didn’t let him in that ‘good ole boys club,’” Smith said.
“He is the one that’s winning because he’s turned this into something that the players didn’t intend to. So they’re going to have to find a different mechanism to have their voices heard because Trump has won this round.”
President Trump owned the New Jersey Generals and wanted to merge the USFL with the NFL before the former league closed. Trump also tried to buy the Buffalo Bills in 2014, but his efforts proved fruitless.
“His real agenda is going at the NFL community that didn’t let him in that good old boys club,” Smith added. “They didn’t let him in in the 1980s when we was an owner in the USFL. He has a history of exacting retribution to those who didn’t make him money.”
Smith also brought up the issue of Vice President Pence’s decision to leave the stadium at the game between the Colts and 49ers Sunday.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 8, 2017
“The president has successfully gone about the business of hijacking the issue,” Smith said, adding that Trump has managed to shift the dissent from a police brutality dispute to an issue about patriotism.
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