It looks like President Donald J. Trump really is making America great again.

Gaza might remain in turmoil and the proposed summit with North Korea might have collapsed, but Trump has at least brokered peace where it really matters: in the National Football League.

What other conclusion can possibly be drawn from the news this week that NFL owners and players have reached a presumably amicable compromise on the issue really tearing apart the United States?

Now, under the rather agreeable new agreement, if for some reason they're still upset at African Americans being unfairly targeted, grossly mistreated or disproportionately shot by law enforcement, NFL players will be allowed to protest however they please…just as long as they remain hidden within the locker room.


While some may question the validity of such a protest - given going unseen seems a little unaligned to the general point of protesting - this at least avoids the unseemly sight of the flag and the national anthem being disrespected.

Did it really matter if black communities were riven by inequality when at the same time the precious flag was being subjected to the horror of a few football players kneeling in its presence?

Hardly. Those ungrateful athletes needed to learn some manners.

Sure, they claimed their protests had nothing to do with the flag or the anthem. And, yes, they insisted the moment of league-enforced jingoism before kickoff was merely a highly-visible means to an end for the movement sparked by Colin Kaepernick.

But no one ever considered that poor piece of star-spangled fabric or that delightful little ditty penned by a man who owned slaves.

Thank goodness for President Trump, then, for putting those players in their place.

Perhaps, since the North Korean meet-and-greet didn't quite go to plan, Trump can now issue a different commemorative coin to mark these equally-important developments. Perhaps a coin featuring Old Glory obscuring the abhorrent image of a player taking a knee.

Because, make no mistake, the NFL owners' edict was unmistakably a triumph for Trump.


As soon as the president last year took time from his busy schedule to call the protestors "sons of bitches", the issue became a political football.

Eli Harold #58, Colin Kaepernick #7 and Eric Reid #35 of the San Francisco 49ers kneel on the sideline, during the national anthem. Photo / Getty Images
Eli Harold #58, Colin Kaepernick #7 and Eric Reid #35 of the San Francisco 49ers kneel on the sideline, during the national anthem. Photo / Getty Images

What Kaepernick professed to be his original cause - kneeling to take a stand about the oppression of minorities in the United States - was suddenly overtaken by the secret, true meaning: he just hated the boys in blue. Or the military. Or his country. Or something.

Happily, now players have the good fortune of being permitted to protest however they choose - deep inside the stadium of course - Trump has been appeased and the owners' profits will no longer be threatened by the president's 'economically-anxious' base. Right?

"I think that's good," Trump said about the new policy. "I don't think people should be staying in locker rooms, but still I think it's good.

"You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn't be playing, you shouldn't be there. Maybe you shouldn't be in the country."

Maybe, indeed. Maybe, the insolent players will now know their place, if the message hasn't already been received, and it has most certainly been received loud and clear, given Kaepernick remains without a job and is currently suing the NFL for colluding to keep him out of the league.

What say you, Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall? Do you know your place? Just how dutifully Trump's words are being heeded?

"We have freedom of speech, right? Freedom to protest?" Marshall said. "Just because somebody disagrees with something, or if I didn't stand for the anthem or if I don't like what's going on, that's basically him saying I should be kicked out the country.

"That's not how things should work."

OK, well, maybe we should check in with a white NFL player.

"This is a fear of a diminished bottom line," Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long said of the anthem rules. "It's also fear of a president turning his base against a corporation.

"This is not patriotism. Don't get it confused. These owners don't love America more than the players demonstrating and taking real action to improve it."

Real action? Pfft. What action has the likes of Kaepernick taken, aside from the kneeling, and aside from donating US$1 million to various charities while being unemployed, and aside from his tireless outreach work in African American communities?

In any case, altruism aside, Kaepernick was probably attempting to put himself in the spotlight, given his career was declining. Either himself, or the 378 black Americans who have lost their lives in police killings since he first took a knee in 2016.

Mercifully, that's finally all over. Trump may be trying to make America great again but, now we're rid of this kneeling scourge, it already sounds pretty swell.