President Donald Trump has topped a second year-end sports list, this time making the top sports story of 2017 as voted by the Associated Press.
The president’s feud with the NFL was the most significant, talked about sports story for the year according to the AP:
— AP Sports (@AP_Sports) December 25, 2017
The president’s criticism of the NFL’s millionaire players for refusing to stand in respect for the playing of the national anthem became the talk of the nation especially after the NFL refused to attempt to mute the controversy that caused millions of football fans to turn off their TVs.
The AP erroneously claimed that Trump’s attack made the playing of the national anthem “must-watch television shown live by the networks and streamed on devices.” However, the networks had actually begun showing the anthem in 2016 almost as soon as former San Francisco 49ers second-string quarterback Colin Kaepernick first stated his protest against the country, the flag, our history and our first responders.
The controversy came to a head after the president slammed the players for refusing to stand for the anthem and said at a September rally that he wished the players could be fired.
Well over 200 players banded together to criticize the president, claiming he was attacking their freedom of speech. However, the president insisted that the players were acting with ingratitude for the nation that gave them the ability to play a kid’s game for a lucrative living that made them all millionaires.
The NFL never made any moves to put an end to the protests that served to drive so many fans away from the game. Indeed, the league essentially put its imprimatur on the protests by agreeing to spend nearly $90 million on so-called “social justice” programs and causes in the coming years.
This is the second time Trump was named as the top sports story of the year this year. SportsBusiness Journal also chose President Trump as its most influential person in sports for 2016. The magazine similarly cited the president’s feud with the NFL but also noted that he was a constant presence in golf, as well, due to his love of the game and his ownership of many of the courses that hosted important tournaments.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.