Abbott shakes fist at NFL


Gov. Greg Abbott is blasting the NFL for raising the prospect that Texas’ so-called “bathroom bill” could impact future events in the state — wading into a debate he has so far mostly steered clear of.

“The NFL is walking on thin ice right here,” Abbott told conservative radio host Glenn Beck on Tuesday. “The NFL needs to concentrate on playing football and get the heck out of politics.”


“For some low-level NFL adviser to come out and say that they are going to micromanage and try to dictate to the state of Texas what types of policies we’re going to pass in our state, that’s unacceptable,” Abbott told Beck. “We don’t care what the NFL thinks and certainly what their political policies are because they are not a political arm of the state of Texas or the United States of America. They need to learn their place in the United States, which is to govern football, not politics.”


In the Beck interview, Abbott also railed against NFL players who protested racial oppression last year by sitting or kneeling during the National Anthem. The protests began with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

“I cannot name or even count the number of Texans who told me that they were not watching the NFL,” Abbott said. “They were protesting the NFL this year because of the gross political statement allowed to be made by the NFL by allowing these players, who are not oppressed, who are now almost like snowflake little politicians themselves unable to take the United States National Anthem being played.”

See here for the background. The “low-level NFL adviser” in question is Brian McCarthy, whose LinkedIn profile says he is the “Vice President of Communications at National Football League”. So, clearly some schmo who doesn’t know his rear end from a post pattern. The rest of the story, and the Abbott tweet that preceded it, is roughly what you’d expect from some dude calling into the Glenn Beck show. I gather Abbott would not approve of that “rap music” the players listen to either, or those baggy jeans the kids are wearing these days. Does he not have anything better to do with his time?

One more thing: Awhile ago I wrote that the fight over SB6 between Dan Patrick and the business lobby feels different than previous fights, because of the level of invective and dismissiveness coming from Patrick. I thought about that as I read this story, and it struck me that it suggests to me that Patrick and now Abbott feel threatened in a way that they have not felt before, and in a way that people who hold close to absolute power for their realm should not feel. Why wouldn’t Abbott, if he must respond to what the NFL had to say about a possible future Super Bowl that would likely be at least five if not ten years out in the future, simply say that he’s sure the NFL will come to understand the state’s position once they’ve had a chance to talk it over, or something like that? The bluster, based on a hypothetical that is contingent on a bill that hasn’t had a committee hearing and may not have the votes to pass, plus the gratuitous insults, is astonishing, and not at all what one would expect from a powerful politician who is confident in his position. I get the sense that maybe, just maybe, these guys sense that – partisan composition of the state’s government aside – they’re not in the majority, or even the mainstream, of some things that they used to be, and they just don’t understand why. I don’t know what that means in practical terms, but it sure is fascinating to watch.

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9 Responses to Abbott shakes fist at NFL

  1. Paul A Kubosh says:

    I must admit the NFL is getting real political. They are all about Progressive “new moral majoirty” standards however they don’t seem to give a damn about people disrespecting the flag and whatever you do don’t put anything on your helmet to honor dead cops.

    You know what the more they talk the more I say the hell with the NFL. Have all your superbowls on the Left Coast.

  2. General Grant says:

    Obviously, if you don’t like the NFL, don’t watch it. Nobody should hold that against you.

    But doesn’t similarly the NFL have every right to be as “political” as Hobby Lobby and Chick-Fil-A?

  3. Tom in Lazybrook says:

    Yea, the NFL is too political. Anyone want to see McNair’s political donations?

    To be clear. There has never been any openly Gay people on any gameday roster in the history of the NFL. The few former players who have subsequently come out as Gay have said that the league is not welcoming. I’m not aware of any openly Gay player development personnel (scouts, coaches) in the history of the league either. The league gives awards to extreme anti-gays who campaigned against Gay players being allowed to play on gameday rosters.

    Now, advocates of discrimination against LGBT persons are upset because the NFL, which has a defacto ban on openly Gay players and player development staff, is trying to ensure that states don’t basically bar Transpersons from attending NFL events (or procuring a hotel or eating in a restaurant while traveling to an event) with dignity.

    The dynamic is changing. Many people have grown tired of paying the NFL for stuff we don’t really support. On our tax bills for overbuilt stadiums and giveaways to anti-gay billionaires. On our cable/internet bills for ‘must take’ (or must subsidize) NFL programming simply because we’d like to watch CNN and can’t do so without paying for the NFL’s ridiculously outsized contracts. On our consumption bills, when we purchase goods and services that pay ridiculous marketing amounts to a league that won’t hire us, regardless of qualifications. San Diego passed legislation requiring a two-thirds majority for stadium bills (which effectively gives progressives a veto on NFL subsidies). Others will follow. Sure the NFL can continue to try and find areas where they can get people to support these types of bailouts, but those usually don’t have the tax base or television markets to really make it as profitable as the urban centers.

    The bigots caught us flatfooted in Houston. We’ve recovered. Even if they pass a ‘fire the Gays’ bill (aka “religious freedom”), we have learned from North Carolina that messing with sports is a way to make everyone pay attention. And the NFL, by virtue of their anti-gay ownership, their bad management practices, their history of exclusion, and their demands that urban communities continue to fund their business, largely for the benefit of conservatives outside our communities, is in a rather vulnerable position.

    Progressives have a stake in the NFL teams. We, much more so than right wingers, largely subsidize their stadiums and their TV deals. We really haven’t even started to apply pressure strongly.

    The NFL is terrified, rightly IMHO, that if they ignore cancellation requests by progressives in the face of a bill like HB2 or SB6 (both of which are clearly targeting the LGBT community for abuse and humiliation), that the connection between ‘who is paying for the NFL’ and ‘what is the NFL doing’ will be made more clear. If advocates of discrimination against LGBT persons don’t like the NFL’s progressive stance now….they’ll really hate it once that connection is made explicit. And this isn’t just about Texas. Its about blue states too. Texas is a liability for the league in general right now.

    In short, if you don’t like progressives being able to pressure the NFL, then move all the teams to Montgomery County, Collin County, etc.

  4. brad m says:


    Good catch that the NFL is getting political…or some might say a bit more principled and backboned on equality issues.

    Alas, I too wish we could back to the days of the moral conservative NFL. No black players and definitely no openly gay players. Those were the days. Lilly white outwardly heterosexual players and fans all through out the stadium and a climate where police brutality to people of color could conveniently be kept out of the newspapers.

  5. Bill Daniels says:


    Thumbs up for the Grandpa Simpson pic. I laughed.

  6. Pingback: Again, there is no such thing as an acceptable bathroom bill – Off the Kuff

  7. paul a kubosh says:

    “Alas, I too wish we could back to the days of the moral conservative NFL. No black players and definitely no openly gay players. Those were the days. Lilly white outwardly heterosexual players and fans all through out the stadium and a climate where police brutality to people of color could conveniently be kept out of the newspapers.”

    I never said any of that. I for one don’t think we should even pass a bill. I don’t think there is a problem that needs to be addressed. However, all of you thought otherwise when Mayor Parker wanted to pass a law allowing all Men into a Womans restrooms.

    You didn’t go into the AFRICAN AMERICAN neighborhoods and call them racist because they are democrats. The Democrats in Houston defeated the bathroom bill in Houston. You guys are two faced.

    Your relentless name calling of racism, blah, blah, blah is becoming meaningless.

  8. Tom in Lazybrook says:


    If you aren’t black….don’t speak for them. Don’t excuse your own bigotry (and yes, advocating for employment discrimination is bigotry IMHO) by pointing at other races as if that excuses your own repugnant advocacy. Pro tip…it doesn’t. Which is what your entire line of reasoning appears to be telegraphing here (and on this issue in general)

    In short, own your own bigotry. Just because you can sell it to someone who happens to be black doesn’t make you not a bigot, or not a racist.

  9. Paul Kubosh says:

    Tom…You are clearly full of hate.

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