Arizona Cardinals President Michael Bidwill, who used his team’s site to support Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, went on a conservative radio show Wednesday to continue to push for his old high school pal. Bidwill also bellyached about how unfair it is to be criticized for requiring that NFL players only protest or demonstrate where no one can see them.
“This isn’t about politics,” Bidwill said on The Mike Broomhead Show about the Cardinals’ fluff piece on Kavanaugh, which was clearly about politics. He isn’t asking for much, just that players not use their biggest possible platforms to deliver their messages. Via Pro Football Talk:
“I’ve known Brett [Kavanaugh] since I was 16 years old. We were high school football teammates. We’ve grown up in life together,” Bidwill said. “People are saying stick to sports? You know what? We ask our players 20 days a year — game days — to restrict their statements. The rest of the days, we want our players to get engaged in the community.”
In another part of the interview, Bidwill and host Mike Broomhead talk about how “cool” it would be to know someone on the Supreme Court. The discussion really illustrates how out of touch these assholes are: Kavanaugh’s nomination is a neat little piece of trivia for the Cardinals president, and a much worse world for a lot of Americans. Bidwill’s fine with any demonstration or protest, provided that it doesn’t inconvenience him, discomfort him, or make his job harder. This is not a compromise; it’s an executive making his labor shut up so he can cater to the dumbest people in our country.
That final sentence in his quote is incredibly patronizing, too, as if the players haven’t been “engaged in the community”; as if they need their boss to tell them to do it. Colin Kaepernick started sitting during the anthem to protest police brutality. Did Michael Bidwill, in his capacity as a former federal prosecutor or as a current rich guy with an enormous platform and lots of politically connected friends, actually do anything to improve what Kaepernick and other players were protesting, or did he just flash his credentials and talk about having more discussions?
The NFL players were able to actually scare the owners into sitting down to the table and listening to them, but they settled for too little. The good news for the players is that they’re still the labor, still the reason the NFL makes any money, and they have the numbers. They should go beyond a filed grievance to make the league get rid of this cowardly protest policy, and they can get Bidwill shut the fuck up if they choose to do so. Don’t wait on empty promises.