Super Bowl Sunday and Trump’s Continuing ‘War’ with the NFL
By Kaitlin Principato
On the night of Sunday February 4, Eagles’ fans across the country swarmed and paraded through the streets of Philadelphia in celebration of the franchise’s first victorious NFL championship. The underdogs prevailed in Minneapolis with an upset of 41-33 against the New England Patriots.
Nick Foles, Philadelphia’s quarterback and Super Bowl LII MVP, made history as the first player to throw and catch a touchdown in a Super Bowl game, as reported by . Other game highlights include Tom Brady setting a new record for the most career touchdowns in Super Bowl Championship games, one sack tying the the Super Bowl record, and the Patriots becoming the first team to put up more than 600 yards of offense in a game without winning.
Defeated quarterback Tom Brady expressed his disappointment to BBC saying, “I expect to be back. I don’t see why I wouldn’t be back. It’s tough to lose these games. You play to win and sometimes you lose. Disappointed. Wish we could have done a better job.”
This season is marked by social and political tensions. The NFL suffered public scrutiny and was dubbed the “No Fun League” after penalizing athletes for ostentatious celebrations of a touchdown or successful play. Comparatively, in most European countries, soccer players are expected to act in a triumphant manner after scoring a goal in a match. In May the NFL reversed its decision and announced that they would no longer penalize players for choreographed celebrations during the game, according to USA Today. “We saw a lot of interest in liberalizing and allowing the players a little more freedom to be able to express their joy, their individuality, and frankly celebrate the game,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said while announcing the change.
The organization continues to face backlash even after the season ended. President Trump has continued with his ‘war’ on the league over players “disrespecting” the national anthem. Through a series of tweets, Trump expressed his resentment towards owners, coaches, and players on both their inability to stand during the national anthem, and lack of consequences for doing so.
According to CNN, owners of both the Giants and Jets vocalized disagreement with Trump’s expressions, while Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones sparked boycotts after claiming he would bench players for “being disrespectful to the flag.” This continuing debate has evolved into discussions on racism, free speech, and using platforms for political statements.
Preceding the Super Bowl, Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith, who raised his fist on the field to express solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, indicated that he would refuse the traditional invitation to the White House if his team were to win, reported CNN. President Trump has not yet responded to this decline. As more Eagles players express refusal to attend the White House, America awaits the President’s response.