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Judging from social media and late-night TV hosts, liberal Hollywood is firmly with the football players who refuse to stand for the national anthem and against President Donald Trump, who wants the NFL to put an end to such protests.
But there are a few in the entertainment industry who side with Trump. Actor James Woods, for example, tweeted #BoycottNFL several times on Monday.
“It’s this simple: they can kneel, sit, or spit during the national anthem. We can accept it or boycott it. Everybody has a choice,” Woods tweeted.
The actor also tweeted a photo from a year ago of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick wearing socks that depicted cops as pigs, then he followed by tweeting a photo of Alejandro Villanueva, the only member of the Pittsburgh Steelers to stand with his hand over his heart before Sunday’s loss to the Chicago Bears. The rest of his team stayed in the locker room for the anthem.
“A Man,” Woods tweeted next to the image of Villanueva, whose gear were among the best-selling items at the NFL online store on Monday, according to the league.
Dean Cain, who played Superman on Lois & Clark, tweeted that Villanueva “is truly a man of steel.”
Meanwhile, actor Nick Searcy was busy retweeting several arguments against the players. “NFL The Only company that will let their employees protest during work hours,” read one. “NFL players have the right to kneel during the anthem, and we have the right to call them the classless asshats that they are for doing so,” read another.
Longtime game show host Wink Martindale noted on Twitter that the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens playing in London over the weekend took a knee for the U.S. anthem “but stood erect & proud for UK’s anthem.” He also tweeted: “REAL MEN don’t take a knee unless they’re proposing.”
The controversy was also the top topic on conservative talk radio Monday, with several hosts backing the idea of a boycott.
“There’s only one way to turn this around and that is for having the ratings for the NFL go down,” said Dennis Prager. “I’m not asking you to fight the Taliban, I’m just asking you not to watch a football game.”
The national radio host also joked that the NFL should be labeled “National Football Leftists” and he attacked the claim made constantly by Hollywood liberals that Trump is “divisive.”
“What a lie it is,” he said. “The people who have decided to kneel instead of stand during the national anthem, they’re not the divisive ones?”
Judging by a ratings decline that has spilled over from last year to the first three weeks of the 2017 season, some Americans might already be boycotting the NFL on TV. Ratings for Sunday Night Football, for example, were off 11 percent from the comparable night a year ago, and a J.D. Power survey in July said that, of those who watched less football last year than they did a year prior, 30 percent of them said it was because they were offended by the kneeling protesters.
Rush Limbaugh on Monday also indicated a willingness to boycott the NFL, telling his radio audience of an estimated 12 million listeners that he didn’t watch football for the first time in 45 years on Sunday.
“If the players have unabridgeable First Amendment rights, free speech, then why are there penalties for certain end zone celebrations?” Limbaugh asked on Monday. “Why can’t Odell Beckham Jr. pretend he’s a dog and urinate on the floor of the end zone?”
Beckham, the superstar wide receiver for the New York Giants, later said his bizarre end zone celebration, which drew a penalty flag, was a reference to him being “a dog,” which some interpreted as a response to President Trump using the term “son of a bitch” when talking about NFL kneelers.
See Beckham’s celebration below.
Limbaugh, in fact, played audio of the president referring to Kaepernick or another random kneeler: “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired,” followed by cheering from Trump’s audience.
“That’s unity. That’s Trump’s supporters all in,” Limbaugh said. “I’m telling you, sports media guys and gals, there’s no way Donald Trump loses this.”