“Donald will start this again”: When Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula took shots at Donald Trump over the National Anthem protests row
Kim Pegula and Terry Pegula
Former President Donald Trump has been hogging the limelight for quite some time now. He faces accusations of attempting a coup and taking over Capitol Hill, dereliction of his duties as President, and of witness tampering among others. His Mar-A-Lago estate was recently the subject of an FBI search where they obtained certain confidential documents that the former first citizen was not supposed to be in possession of.
Trump, during his stint as the President, has taken a lot of shots at the NFL. The peak criticism came when players across the league had begun to kneel during the national anthem to express their support for African Americans who were being subject to police brutality. Colin Kaepernick started this movement and many players began to do the same. This was one of the few matters that gave Roger Goodell sleepless nights.
“We need an immediate plan”: Terry Pegula cites his concerns over Donald Trump’s impulsive behavior
The top NFL owners and executives along with Roger Goodell met on short notice at the NFL HQ on Park Avenue in October of 2017, this was just a month after Trump had decided that he would be going after the NFL over its player protests during the national anthem. The summit had owners and players meet in this fashion for the first time and this situation had the public at large irked over the league and they received backlash that they never saw coming.
The owners and players sat in alternative seats, the Commissioner began this meeting with the exact words, “Let’s make sure we keep this confidential,” which indicates that he really did not want this to be out in the public domain, however, the New York Times was able to access an audio recording of a meeting that lasted for three hours.
During the course of discussions, Bills’ owner Terry Pegula shifted the focus of the owners and execs towards Trump‘s erratic behavior. He warned them that the President can do more damage if he just decided to take another public shot at the NFL. “All Donald needs to do is to start to do this again, we need some kind of immediate plan because of what’s going on in society. All of us now, we need to put a Band-Aid on what’s going on in the country,” Pegula stated that Trump is not trustworthy and risks doing more damage.
The issue at large was a significant amount of fans were boycotting games, TV ratings had become bad, and sponsors were not thrilled about the kneeling either. Terry Pegula called this situation a dire one and went on to state that the NFL was “under assault.”
To the Buffalo Bills owner, it was a slow and painful decline, “To me, this is like a glacier moving into the ocean, we’re getting hit with a tsunami.” Adding to this, he believed that the media was doing the most damage and that the NFL needed to find a spokesperson, preferably a player who could promote the positive things about the league and gave an example of the gun lobby.
“For us to have a face, as an African-America, at least a face that could be in the media, we could fall behind in that, for years, we’ve watched the NRA use Charlton Heston as a figurehead, we need a spokesman,” Pegula concludes.
The protests were indeed a time that had the top executives of the NFL shook, they were all confused and did not know how to react to a situation of this caliber. Despite its best efforts to nip this situation in the bud, the NFL was left helpless, it had to compel players to not kneel down during the national anthem.