#NFL

Austria proves again why the EU needs to listen more and talk less

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God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we’d listen more and talk less,’ so the old saying goes This is what the EU gets for trying to bully its member states. It wasn’t long ago that EU President Jean-Claude Juncker was telling Austrians that if they democratically elected Norbert Hofer of the right wing FPO then the EU would remove Austria’s voting rights and cut off any transfers. Well the Austrians have voted for a conservative anti-immigrant party (which wants a programme to get immigrants to assimilate with the local culture) with a 31yo leader, Sebastian Kurz. His People’s Party garnered 31.4% (+7%) of the vote with the far-right wing FPO coming in second at 27.4% and incumbent Social Democrat Party coming in third with 26.7%. The Greens will probably not make the cut off of 4% to make a party, So once again the EU has had yet another major repudiation of its totalitarian ideals.

CM has been making the point for ages that forcing one’s beliefs onto others must be done in a way that listens to the other side. Otherwise it delivers results like Trump. It seems the EU hasn’t learned a thing.

So what have we had?

-Le Pen garnered 1/3rd of the French vote (double the best ever achieved by Front National),

-the far right Freedom Party’s (FPO) Norbert Hofer still managed 46% in Austria farcical re-run presidential election),

-Geert Wilders’ 25% increase in seats for the anti-immigrant PVV in The Netherlands,

-the surge in the Sweden Democrats to the top of the recent polls, Elections in 2018.

-Italy’s referendum which turned into a backdoor vote to oust PM Renzi. Elections in 2018 likely.

Brexit (although PM May is handling negotiations in true British efficiency – Fawlty Towers ring a bell?),

the Swiss handing back a 30yr standing free ticket to join the EU,

-the AfD in Germany getting 13% of the vote (Merkel may have won but it was her party’s worse showing in 7 decades)

…these don’t look like promising trends for an EU which is already badly listing. Despite ample warnings the EU refused (and still refuses) to change its course or exercise due care. It just issues more threats.

While the left openly voices its rage at these ‘right-wing’ parties growing in support, they never bother to seek reasons why. The right are generally just dismissed as racists, bigots or worse.  Major party loyalty has never been worse. The fabric of the loyal party voter base is wearing thinner. Take Australia’s One Nation Party led by Senator Pauline Hanson. The popularity of the mainstream LNP and Labor Parties is at record lows. One Nation is now 10% of the vote from 2% several decades ago. While some parties may claim their loyal base has abandoned them the stronger case to be made is the clear shift of the parties away from their once faithful constituents. Why?

Incumbent governments seem to cower at receiving negative news from the 24-7 polling cycle that is social media. Being careful to avoid inviting attack, they pander to all of the socially acceptable agendas – climate change, gender fluid bathrooms, laws clamping down on free speech, open borders and afffirmative action.

However political correctness is clearly not the answer as these results across Europe and elsewhere show. People are sick of the brow beating by socialist activists. Tired of the constant protests and social justice bleating. The NFL might find that most of its fans are against police brutality but they aren’t wanting a weekly lecture in grievance politics with the price of entry or their cable TV channel. Growing weary of the idea that it is ‘free speech’ and anything against those ideals are deemed ‘hate speech’. It is not to deny some positions are not necessarily palatable but in the marketplace of free speech, ridiculous positions can easily be disproven. Better to give extremist voices a chance to talk and invite public opinion on them at their own peril. Shutting it down forces it underground., making it inherently more dangerous.

Too many mainstream political parties are moving off the policy reserve that defined them so their once loyal followers are actively seek ones that will. While Hanson’s One Nation or Senator Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives may not tick every box to existing LNP voters, they cover enough of the positions that matter to them that they’ll tolerate some of the more out there ideas. It is not uncommon to hear the left complain at One Nation’s is growing popularity at the expense of the Greens but it is a devil of their own making.

So will the EU listen to the Austrian call? Will it pay attention to the Hungarians who voted over 98% against accepting forced migrant quotas? Think through the logic. If you were an asylum seeker, would you think your chances of unincumbered settlement would be best placed where 98.4% of the population doesn’t want you? It is irrelevant whether we think the Hungarians are insensitive brutes not to extend a welcome to those that are legitimately in need. It is their country and their democracy has spoken. If Brussels assumes to dictate to Hungary how it wishes to protect its culture and whatever it holds precious, why shouldn’t the EU have the same rights to enforce income tax, housing benefits and anything else it sees fit? Of course it is a preposterous notion.

It will not be long before the EU will be front and center on Greece. Let us not forget that the EU colluded with Goldman Sachs to ‘fiddle’ the accounts to make Hellas much prettier optically than it was. Was this pig without lipstick it wouldn’t have gained acceptance to the club. So the EU is not in a position to claim innocence over a deliberate ploy to ram-road the Greeks into its federal state yet have no qualms treating it with disdain. Talk about double standards.

In all seriousness the treatment of the Greeks by the EU is despicable beyond words. So for all of the left’s blind love for the EU and its socialist agenda, 36% of Greeks live below the poverty line and 58% of the youth are unemployed. So for all of the EU’s shared sense of purpose and equality, that means many can’t access affordable healthcare because it is generally provided by corporates and when you lose a job you lose the healthcare. This means many are forced to use A&E of major hospitals which are now overcrowded and understaffed as more doctors are leaving to seek better fortune for their services elsewhere.

If that wasn’t enough, mothers who had given birth were being restricted from taking their new-borns home if they couldn’t pay the hospital fees. While the government has banned this practice they have introduced new laws to allow the seizure of assets (e.g. homes) if debts are not settled.

Shortly, the Greeks are coming up for discussion over its debt position and austerity. With just months left before Greece’s latest lifeline expires, officials directly involved in the country’s bailout say they don’t have the stomach for contingent aid program when the current one expires in August 2018. While the EU and Athens are battle worn after 7 years of this knife edge rescue,  Greece will need to show it can go it alone but it’s eurozone creditors will be reluctant without further strings attached.

Here is betting that the EU doesn’t heed the lessons that have been ringing loud and clear for years. Sincerely hoping Greece leaves the EU and lets market forces revive its economy. Better to die on its feet than live on its knees.

4 more years

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Start laughing. It is ok. It is the same thing heard time and time again since forecasting it back in mid-2015. Yes, at this rate he is staring at another 4 years should his health hold out. This week capped off yet another mad push for so called ‘progressive’ (regressive) values will only drive the wedge of division ever deeper. People are growing sick and tired of being told how they must think. When liberal TV host Bill Maher admits openly that “Democrats, this movement to childproof the world has made Republicans the party of freedom and Democrats the party of poopers.” you know they are in trouble. Yet they can’t help being victims. Have you already forgotten how the liberals turned on Rachel Maddow over the tax returns? Yet one can guess they won’t run a more centrist candidate like Bill Clinton in 2020 but one pushing the thresholds of the identity kit. If they can find a genderless Dreamer who was raised by a North Korean Muslim lesbian couple they’ll have their ‘person’.

Sure liberals can celebrate the admission of girls into the Boy Scouts. It will probably become Scouts of America where tying knots will be replaced with wearing a rainbow scarf, learning gender fluidity while being banned from rubbing two sticks together to make fire because it is harmful to the environment.  No doubt they’ll learn the correct use of genderless pronouns which in reality will be of high value because the State of California would sooner jail citizens for incorrect use of language than properly vetting illegal immigrants. By the way how silent has the media been now that the Supreme Court ruled 8-1 to approve the revised travel ban? No matter how one might hate it or view its insensitivity, many of those that voted for him will happily chalk it up as a win. He ran that as part of his election campaign. Get over it.

Of course celebrating  Columbus Day 2017 was yet another chance to bash colonialists for things that modern day descendants had nothing to do with.  The City of Detroit wants to replace it with Indigenous People’s Day. Well truth be told that Michiganites born in America are indeed indigenous. We had this debate in Australia this year where socialist and Greens city councils in the Marxist state of Victoria went beyond their remit of collecting rubbish and keeping park amenities clean by announcing they would be scrapping Australia Day. Instead of asking their 240,000 residents for their opinion they rigged a poll by asking 80 activists and even then couldn’t muster more than 60% in favour of their preferred name of ‘Invasion Day’. Talk of pathetic when they can’t even get all of the victims onside. Yet the mayor of one of the councils decided to speak down to those who couldn’t accept it by telling them they lacked ‘education’. The irony was that many prominent aborigines are in favour of Australia Day because it celebrates togetherness and how far the nation has come rather than rake over coals that happened  230 years ago. Yet the socialists made out that calling it Australia Day for aborigines was the equivalent to the Jews as Germans celebrating ‘Holocaust Day’. Seriously?

This year statues of former Confederate generals like Robert E Lee sparked outrage when nary we heard a peep beforehand. Even people like basketball legend Charles Barkley said he has never driven past any statues and associated them with any excuse to grieve today. So once again Australia copied suit. Calling for the removal of statues of Captain James Cook, Governors Phillip and Macquarie, because they weren’t discoverers and settlers but ‘invaders’. Yet liberals will happily find this as another excuse to play the victim by erasing the history they don’t like. Get rid of the statues and it won’t be long before the next victim case arrives in the in-tray to protest over. Once again, people are tired of the lectures. Sick of being told they should feel guilty for things they had no control over because they weren’t even born at the time. How can we possibly move forward if they’re forever wanting people not responsible for things to apologize and be wracked with guilt? Move on!

Then we have had the NFL saga. The original BLM protest started by Kaepernick kneeling has been so diluted from its original purpose that the controversial quarterback promises to stand during the anthem if he can have a multi million dollar contract again. The initial shirt fronting bluster of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has turned into a 180 degree retreat after Trump tweeted about considering cutting the generous tax breaks the league receives. Money talks greater than protests in the end. Fans were sick of the in their face protests when they wanted to unwind in front of the ball game. While progressives scream the right to ‘freedom of speech’, fans merely exercised freedom of consumption – burning memorabilia and season tickets. The very money that pays the multi million dollar salaries of the players have a right to get what they handed over their hard earned dollars for. Even if they want to draw attention to a worthy cause do fans require it drilled into them every game? This is the problem with the left. It bangs on incessantly that it ends turning people off. I have not heard of fans complaining of any players protesting on their own time. Whether we like it or not, NFL players are employees. If any of us took a knee to our boss who told us to manage a difficult account you shouldn’t be surprised if you’re demoted or worse. It is not a violation of free speech. It is dissent – pure and simple. Just like those openly using tax-payer funded websites to vilify their boss. Once again, send a mail to your boss cc-ing the firm and tell him or her what a complete jerk they are and see how long you last.

Now we have Weinstein. Liberal celebrities are trying to cover up their own impropriety (Affleck, Kimmel et al) post the exposure of ‘one of their own’ by turning on POTUS. There has been tweet and post after post on Trump’s ‘p*ssy grab’ tape (which by the way he was elected in full knowledge of voters) being just as bad as Weinstein. While once can cry foul that these are double standards to OK the president but vilify Weinstein for disrespecting women, his legion of followers have more of an issue with Hollywood hypocrites try to push their heightened sense of values on them when they so blatantly hid a monster that served their lavish lives. The deplorables are sick of these liberals lecturing them. It is not a question of who is worse – Trump or Weinstein- but having actors talk down to them in such sanctimonious fashion.

Then it was only a few weeks back that Michelle Obama was bludgeoning American women for obeying their husbands at the polling booth and abandoning the ‘sisters’. Does Mrs Obama honestly believe she will sway female Trump voters back to being Democrats by calling out their supposed lack of intelligence. What a slap in the face to all women to have her patronize them. I do not recall her making those sweeping statements to get a woman in the Oval Office when Hillary ran against her husband in 2008?

So the only message to liberals is that if they want to get rid of the President then they ought to pay attention to all of the things which cost them the election in 2016. If anything they’ve amplified the noise which turned people away in droves. One can see the 2020 election campaign by the Democrats. It will crank up victimhood, identity politics and focus on trying to get people married to the state. Isn’t it telling that Trump said if politicians don’t want to overhaul Obamacare then they can switch from a bountiful taxpayer healthcare plan to the system they are resisting  change – how silent they’ve become…then again how many from both sides of the house are on the payroll of big pharmaceutical companies…? This is the thing – it is no longer GOP vs Democrats – both are not behind POTUS. If he ran as an independent he’d win.

The way the liberals can win is to encourage open, rational debate (like the Trump rally which gave their stage to BLM protestors to wonderfully unify them on many levels), allow conservatives to speak on campus on issues without causing trigger warnings, micro aggression and safe spaces and to refrain from shoving every political issue in the electorate’s face at every opportunity.  Failure to do so will practically guarantee a return of the incumbent in 2020. All the signs point to an even bigger defeat. Keep up the good work. The only fear is that any the rate your expending grievances you may run out of things to moan about when the next 4 years eventually arrive.

The true colours of the NFL in two predictable plays

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So the NFL is starting to back down. Two plays that were so predictable that the quarterback would be stretchered off the field for its transparency.

1) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has sent a letter to the 32 teams requesting them to stand during the anthem. A Trump tweet suggesting that tax concessions get revised seemed to move Goodell toward making a decision based on the already worsening financials with several sponsors looking to pull out and ratings continuing to slide. Week 4 stats were down another 7% according to Nielsen. Some put the hurricanes as a factor.

2) Colin Kaepernick has said he promises to stand during the anthem on the next team that hires him. So for all of the principle-ladened action that cost him his job have come to the realization that financial security outweighs politics. The irony of his BLM support became massively diluted after everyone started taking knees for pretty much any issue, mostly a protest against the President who called them out for lacking patriotism.

For all of the kneeling in the world, there has been a more powerful protest at play – fans. Yes one can hear the calls of racism and how it’s insensitive whites turning their backs but the reality is that black and Hispanic viewers in all age groups are down in percentage terms as much as White fans according to Nielsen since the protests started in 2016. Only Asian fans in the 18-34 cohort are up year on year.

Once again, no one has ever argued these players don’t have a right to protest in their own time. When they’re on the clock, they should do as the boss requires of them. Let’s put it another way. Next time your boss asks you to cover a horribly rude but paying client, take a knee and see how far you get!

Is it just me or is there a voice Columbus Day to be scrapped? Tear down statues? Same arguments as those made over Australia Day. Rasmussen Reports that support for the day is up. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of American Adults think America should still honor Christopher Columbus with a national holiday, up from 50% two years ago. If you want to unite a country, start by not dividing it by every unique identity. The idea of unity is to become one at the same time recognizing our differences. Not recognize all differences and unless demands are met refuse to unify.

National Felon League (NFL)

It changes the moral high ground on the debate on the NFL when dragging it down into the statistics of the players themselves. Perhaps some players are taking a knee to stop themselves being held accountable by the very laws they break. 713 different players between 2000-2014 have been arrested, Shocking list of charges – rape, murders, shootings, animal cruelty, prostitution rings, assault, robbery, illegal gun possession, DUI, resisting arrest and so forth. So ask yourself why fans might get turned off being lectured to by these social justice footballers? Great role models.

Makes the NRL in Australia look like a bunch of choir boys.

With pay TV viewership and game attendance continuing to fall (according to Nielsen) we are seeing some team owners like the Steelers begging fans to accept it’s just a misunderstanding and sponsors like Nike sticking up for the NFL because they want to make sure their investment sustains a return. Budweiser will be the big swing factor on the NFL. It proudly promotes it has 11,000 veterans working for it. Pepsi, Budweiser’s Anheuser-Busch InBev paid $1.4 billion to sponsor the NFL out to 2022. When AB InBev first inked this deal in 2011 (to last through the 2017 Super Bowl) it paid $1.2 billion. Not small pennies. DirecTV has announced they will give full refunds to customers who want to cancel their NFL channel. Of course DirecTV will be asking the NFL to cover the costs of that.

No matter what one’s views are, the NFL will live and die by their actions. As mentioned yesterday, taking a knee is now so commonplace it is actually no longer seen as the protest it was originally done for. Then again, all the NFL is bringing on itself is the double standards of many of its players.

A letter from the owner to Steelers fans – yeah, that’ll fix it

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How stupid does the owner take his fans for? Pittsburgh Steelers’ owner Art Rooney II sent a letter to fans (below) which sought to explain the team’s actions. Anyone fan with half a brain would look at this letter, the actions of the coach pillorying the war veteran Alejandro Villanueva for standing alone and the forced apology as nothing short of another slap in the face. None of the message is consistent. If there was a pre-meditated plan to stay in the locker room for the anthem they could have blissfully tweeted the action on social media beforehand if indeed they thought their fans would buy it. That they didn’t smacks of the contempt they have and this insincere apology only proves it. What a joke. No wonder the ratings keep plummeting and the fans keep burning their memorabilia. Never come between an American and their patriotism.

To Steelers Nation:

I want to reach out to you, the members of Steelers Nation, based on what I believe is a misperception about our players’ intentions in not taking the field for the National Anthem in Chicago. The intentions of Steelers players were to stay out of the business of making political statements by not taking the field. Unfortunately, that was interpreted as a boycott of the anthem – which was never our players’ intention.

Our players come from many different backgrounds and are united by what it means to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are active in their communities and participate regularly in events designed to give back to those communities. And they appreciate the support they get from Steelers fans around the country and here at home.

I also know that our players have tremendous respect for the members of our military services, including their teammate Alejandro Villanueva. There was never any desire on the part of our players to show disrespect for our service members.

Yesterday, I received an email from a Steelers fan who said tell the players to just play football. That is exactly what they wanted to do. They wanted their sole focus to be on playing the game, while also coming together as a unified team.

The main thing we can do is learn from this and strive to come together remaining unified as a football team. I believe we are capable of accomplishing this with the support of our fans.

Steelers Nation is made up of the best fans in the National Football League. We appreciate your continued support of our players, coaches and staff.

Sincerely,

Art Rooney, II

 

Knee-ncompoops – the only beneficiary has been BBQ lighter fluid makers

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Alright, I think we’ve all seen enough kneeling to last a lifetime. In fact the original message of kneeling during the national anthem pushed to the fore by Colin Kaepernick to raise awareness for ‘BLM’ has now been diluted to complete irrelevance. Now it is being done as a fashion. So the idea of raising awareness has now been switched as a protest against the President. So was BLM such small potatoes that it got switched so readily for this?  To be honest, NFL players are employees. Better paid than most but employees. If we went to our places of work and told our bosses that we’d take a knee if told we had to start at 6am to service particular clients who needed our services, we could understand if our jobs would be in jeopardy. In the same light, if our customers (fans) aren’t served they’ll go somewhere else. It is simple. The end user of any product ultimately has the last word. Recent NFL ratings and certain sponsors reflect this.

Equally the number of videos of NFL fans burning jerseys, championship pennants and other memorabilia will undoubtedly boost sales of BBQ fire starter fluid. Of course fans are infuriated. Many work exceptionally hard to be able to afford the tickets that are supposed to take them away from financial, work and other stresses.

The number of videos from people of all races, colours and socio-economic bases have also made it very clear – they view this as political garbage and that these highly paid athletes reflect the way that America provides them with the oppportunity to take home millions of dollars, earning more in a game than many fans make in a year only incenses paying fans. Where are their activities within the communities they claim they support?

Perhaps even more telling is these so called moral crusaders in many cases do not speak from very high ground. The USA Today published a list of all of the arrests and charges laid on NFL heroes – from assault, battery, DUI, rape, guns, drugs and resisting arrest. Yet here they are telling normal Americans how they need to ‘reflect’ on this ‘racial’ divide which somehow has sprung up from the woodwork.

Now when Alejandro Villaneuva, a veteran who served in Afghanistan, makes a personal choice to show his pride i his nation he is summarily pilloried by his coach and then turns around and makes a forced apology when there was no need to except under the guise of this politically correct hand-wringing. I actually felt sorry that Villaneuva had to apologize for expressing his true feelings. His apology even displayed his own surprise he was even making it.

So every time I see yet another team kneeling I look at them as the least original protestors around. Nothing but lemmings who can’t see that every single new protest just alienates those they should be embracing to sustain their lavish lifestyles. No one is saying they can’t exercise their free speech but they might find their fans far more sympathetic if they didn’t throw it in their face every game.

Still we live in a world where yelping injustices (which in many cases aren’t affecting those kneeling) begets this so called ‘division’. Whether it is POTUS’s place to slap these slice sportspeople is one thing – many say he is the key behind this disunity. I disagree – he has merely woken many of us who don’t live in America to what a divided nation he inherited. So if you look beyond the headlines and look at his actions his real aim is to ‘unite’ people – because the US can’t heal if everyone is moaning only about one’s own issues.

This video of BLM protestors being invited to speak at a Trump rally shows more about what can happen when both sides listen. More powerful than any knees. Although I wonder if liberals would ever allow Trump supporters to talk on their platform? Watch the initial resistance until one of the conveners at the rally says to the crowd to shut up and listen in the interest of ‘free speech’ – now that would not have come about from a community that is as divided as the MSM makes out. That is the essence of MAGA.

 

Take me out to (just) the ball game

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Isn’t the sole reason to buy tickets to a ball game is so that you can relax and forget about stresses at work or home? It is a distraction. Family time. A way to unwind. Paying to see elite athletes do what they do best. What fans don’t pay to see is a game which is dressed in politics. Once again the President has smacked more people eager to disrespect the nation. While hardly presidential, he none-the-less made a very good point – “fire those sons of bitches” referring to those grossly overpaid players who make political gestures such as taking a knee when the national anthem is being played. When this whole ‘kneeling’ malarkey kicked off, NFL ratings have been on a slide and the 2017 start has showed a shocking 24% (FOX) and 15% (CBS) drop in the Prime 18-49 viewership stats.

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Now the facts are simple. 30 of the 32 NFL teams are owned by whites. The other two by Americans of Asian decent. The idea that Colin Kaepernick was fired because of racism is plain dumb. 70% of the players in the NFL are black. These players are paid huge salaries  and to all intents and purposes are employees of the club. Therefore the boss contracts players to behave in ways that not only win ballgames but respect their customers (i.e. fans) who ultimately fund their salaries. Kaepernick was on $12mn per year. Hardly skimping by because of his supposedly racist bosses. Yet in his quest to protest police brutality he decided to shove his politics into fans’ faces. While they just wish to enjoy a game he wants to sour the experience.

Ah yes, he has a right to free speech. Indeed he does. However when he is on the ‘company clock’ he is still required to follow the boss’ instructions. That is part of the contract of employer/employee. In a sense what Kaepernick was doing was dissent. If he wants to protest such matters why doesn’t he do it off the field. In fact his actions have spawned copycats in kid’s sports. What values are we teaching these kids? Instead of looking at ways to sensibly heal rifts, coaches are trying to brainwash innocent kids to doing their protests for them.

The AFL is also guilty of this political posturing over same sex marriage (SSM). The AFL has not been the poster child for best in class ethics (e.g. bosses having affairs with junior female staff) yet feel they should put “yes” on the footballs and their HQ logo. All fans want to do is watch the game and escape all the ills in society. They don’t pay to have it served up to them. It doesn’t matter if these fans support SSM it’s a question of why are corporates or sports teams campaigning on what consenting adults do behind closed doors. It is irrelevant.

The argument we often hear is that corporations should use their profiles to promote social issues. Corporations are nothing but buildings with desks, chairs some pot plants and desktop PCs. They aren’t people. Sure people work inside them but to think that “the corporation speaks for us” is nonsense. In most cases it’s a small committee forcing their sense of political will on staff about how they should behave. Sure basic standards in the office are fair but since when did political views, gender or sexual orientation become such a fertile ground for companies to push on staff. Surely the only true goal of the staff is to work as a team to produce results efficiently in the interests of their customers. Not seek to rebrand their logos and shopfronts to promote political causes.

If companies feel so strong about such issues perhaps they should chisel those principles under the other core goals respelendent in the office foyer. Yet it is different. Corporates are becoming so scared of lawsuits and reputational damage that they embark on social crusades to chalk up a track record to deny they discriminate in the workplace hence all these social targets. So while some staff see the corporate actions as virtuous many don’t realize the public point scoring element to the cheerleading

Ultimately consumers have choices. When it comes to sport people want to relax and enjoy the game, not absorb political posturing. When it comes to drinking coffee they don’t want Starbucks explaining their rationale as to why the removal of Christmas cups was done.

Here is an idea. If the NFL or AFL IR anymother business for that matter wish to push political causes offer fans/customers a choice. Half price tickets/services/goods with a political pamphlet handed out or a full priced ticket/service/good with none. That way the fan/customer can choose. I’d only suggest to put a recycling bin right by the ticket booth/register so you can see how many fans/customers  actually care what you have to say on political matters! You’ll soon realize the majority don’t care and your revenues will have halved. Best stop the politics and charge full prices.