United States presidential candidate Donald Trump made his way into the news again – not because of his latest comments in the tight race for the 2016 elections, but for his latest rants on the officiating in the NFL.
Trump – the business magnate and former owner of the New Jersey Generals franchise in the short-lived USFL in the 1980s and now Republican party candidate – said that the league’s officiating has turned “soft” and further painted the bigger picture that America itself has turned soft, according to Jenna Johnson of The Washington Post.
Donald Trump says NFL referees throw flags to impress their wives watching at home. “It has become soft, and our country has become soft.”
— Jenna Johnson (@wpjenna) January 10, 2016
During a recent campaign stop Sunday in Reno, Nevada, the outspoken Trump reminisced of a time when players violently made head-on collisions and played a more physical brand of football to the enjoyment of the fans, himself included.
Among the players he enjoyed watching due to their intense style of play included Pro Football Hall of Famers Dick Butkus, Lawrence Taylor and Ray Nitschke.
According to The Washington Post‘s Cindy Boren, Trump used the word “crummy” to describe the rule changes made by the league in the light of the lobbying made by elected officials in US that viewed football as “violent” to make the game safer for the players.
“It’s a Sunday, who the hell wants to watch these crummy games? I just want to watch the end,” said Trump, referencing to the Pittsburgh Steelers versus Cincinnati Bengals match last Saturday in The Washington Post article.
“What I just said about a game — so I’m watching a game yesterday. What used to be considered a great tackle, a violent head-on [tackle], a violent — if that was done by Dick Butkus, they’d say he’s the greatest player. If that were done by Lawrence Taylor — it was done by Lawrence Taylor and Dick Butkus and Ray Nitschke, right? Ray Nitschke — you used to see these tackles and it was incredible to watch, right?” quipped Trump.
“Now they tackle. ‘Oh, head-on-head collision, 15 yards.’ The whole game is all screwed up. You say, ‘Wow, what a tackle.’ Bing. Flag. Football has become soft. Football has become soft. Now, I’ll be criticized for that. They’ll say, ‘Oh, isn’t that terrible.’ But football has become soft like our country has become soft,” Trump remarked.
The sport has been hit hard in recent years, as numerous active and retired pro and college football players suffered long-term effects on their bodies due to the highly physical play in the NFL and college levels.
Screenshot courtesy of The Washington Post