The NFL and Their Deafening Silence on the Coup D’état at the Capitol
by Ameer Hasan Loggins
The sound of silence surrounding the Capitol coup d’état is deafening by one of Trump’s most prominent groups of “friends” and financial supporters — the team owners in the NFL.
Aloud, the NFL has gone to great lengths to align its league with frontstage performances of pledging allegiance to patriotism. The league had no problem marketing manufactured nationalism as they partnered with the United States Department of Defense for Hometown Hero dedications to salute soldiers, fighter jet flyovers, and the unfurling of massive American flags on the field.
Silently, backstage, behind the scenes, the Department of Defense paid the NFL more than $5 million in taxpayer money between 2011 to 2014 to honor U.S. soldiers and veterans at games.
Aloud, the NFL promoted its league-wide NFL Votes initiative that was “intended to include, support, and encourage the voting and civic engagement efforts of NFL fans.” The league publicized team facilities being used for 2020 election support. In the NFL Votes commercial, NFL Commissioner, Rodger Goodell, pointed at the camera and said, “We’re counting on you to do your part and vote.” And yet, there is utter silence when Trump’s followers stormed and breached the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, stoked largely by his defiant speech claiming the election had been stolen from him?
Trump’s supporters traveled on their pilgrimage to plunder the Capitol from California, Florida, the Midwest and deep South, “united by a fury with many targets: the mainstream media that reports the November U.S. presidential polls were free and fair; poll workers who they believe changed or hid or destroyed votes for Trump; and the Republicans who have acknowledged President-elect Joe Biden’s legitimate win.”
The NFL has teams playing during Wild Card Weekend that are from California (Los Angeles Rams), Florida (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), the Midwest (Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears), and the deep South (Tennessee Titans). Of the teams in the 2020–2021 NFL Playoffs, five teams’ stadiums were used for election support sites during the 2020 election, this included both the AFC (Kansas City Chiefs) and the NFC (Green Bay Packers) number one seeded team in the NFL playoffs. This list also includes the Washington Football Team, where the Capitol coup took place.
The Los Angeles Rams owner, Stan Kroenke, has donated to Trump. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner, Ed Glazer, has donated to Trump. The Cleveland Browns owner, James Haslam, has donated to Trump. The Washington D.C. Football Team owner, Dan Snyder has donated to Trump.
Donald Trump is a Republican President of the United States. USA TODAY Sports reports that roughly 89% of the $3.8 million donated by NFL owners to political parties since 2019 has gone to Republicans. Trump not only represents the country that the owners live in, he also represents the political party they privately invest their interest in.
And yet they are silent.
They were silent on January 6, 2021, when a clan of domestic-terrorists stormed the United States Capitol. They smashed windows. They smashed doors. They smashed the skull of U.S. Capitol Officer Brian Sicknick with a fire extinguisher.
He is dead.
They are silent.
The NFL owners are silent about how the breach of the Capitol building was incited by President Donald Trump — a man they have supported. The NFL owners are silent about how he urged his followers on several occasions to come to Washington for a rally, the day the US House of Representatives and Senate were scheduled to certify the results of the Electoral College. How he tweeted to, “be there. It will be wild!” With the White House as his backdrop, and American flags waving in the wind, standing behind a bulletproof barrier, Trump told a mob of his supporters to march down to the Capitol. He urged them “to fight.” To “never give up.” To “never concede.”
The NFL owners are silent.
The NFL said not a collective word about how Trump, warmheartedly asked his mob of faithful followers to “go home” as they pillaged the Capitol. He told them “we love you,” as they were in the midst of an insurrection. He told them that they were “very special” as they committed acts of violence, sedition, treason, and terrorism.
The NFL owners are saying nothing.
Aloud, one of Trump’s most prominent congressional allies, Sen. Lindsey Graham said Trump’s role in the violence that occurred at the U.S. Capitol was “the problem.” Aloud, Twitter announced that the platform will permanently suspend Trump’s primary bully pulpit — his Twitter account. Aloud, Facebook banned Donald Trump from posting on his Facebook accounts for at least the next two weeks until the transition of power to President-elect Joe Biden is complete. Aloud, even Bill O’Reilly halfheartedly handed down the condemnation of Trump’s role in the siege of the Capitol for his “failure to tamp down,” acts of violence, sedition, treason, and terrorism by his followers.
While many are attempting to publicly distance themselves from Trump in an effort of whitewashing their complicity in his ability to incite an insurrection, the NFL owners have collectively kept their mouths shut.