- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Positive polling for President Trump on national anthem protests in the NFL prompted ESPN’s “First Take” crew to do a double-take this week.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman and Molly Qerim spoke Tuesday about ramifications for professional football teams that bring political activism into the stadium.

The trio were informed by contributor Will Cain of a point made less than 24 hours earlier by radio host Rush Limbaugh: National anthem protests linked to Mr. Trump’s words benefit the president.

“All I’m telling you is that I believe often in the Northeast, we live in a media bubble or even a cultural bubble in the Northeast,” Mr. Cain said after citing a Remington Research Group poll on the protests, The Daily Caller reported. “We are greatly underestimating the resentment in the public evidenced by [Alejandro] Villanueva’s jersey sales [and] the ratings. I’m just telling you. I have no idea how, but it’s real.”

The guest’s comment was in reference to the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman who participated in the national anthem while the rest of his team stood inside the stadium tunnel. Fans made his jersey a top seller within 24 hours, although he blamed his actions on a miscommunication with teammates during a Monday press conference.

Mr. Cain noted that 64 percent of voters agree with Mr. Trump that refusing to stand for the national anthem is wrong.

The Remington survey also found that 80 percent of voters want less politics in sports.

The ESPN panelist’s conclusions mirror Mr. Limbaugh, who said the following on Monday: “People who are not political — and there are a lot of those in this country, more than you would think — are seeing it. And they don’t like it, and now there’s a president speaking out against it … There’s no way Donald Trump loses this, the way you’ve got it going.”

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