President Trump Roger Goodell

Stephen A. Smith says President Donald Trump “successfully hijacked” the NFL protests because the NFL refused to let him own a team. The ESPN “First Take” co-host said Trump “has won this round” after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a memo to all 32 teams, saying “Everyone should stand” during the National Anthem.

In the memo, Goodell expressed respect for players’ “opinions and concerns about critical social issues,” but, he added, “like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem. We want to honor our flag and our country and our fans expect that of us.”

The memo didn’t mention President Trump who went to war with NFL players who sat or kneeled during the playing of the anthem.

Smith said Trump “successfully hijacked” the original purpose of the protests which was to bring attention to police brutality in America.

“It is what it is. In the end, what it really, really comes down to is the president has successfully hijacked this issue,” Smith said, after Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones threatened to suspend players for kneeling.

Smith added:

“He’s turned it into an issue about patriotism and beyond. He’s catering to his base in the process. And the biggest thing that he’s doing is that he’s pulling it all off hiding behind these issues when, in my opinion, his real agenda is going at the NFL community that didn’t let him in that good old boys club.”