- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 5, 2018

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith has news for NFL fans who are upset with President Trump: the commander in chief has the league by “the you-know-what.”

The host of “First Take” told his audience Tuesday that Mr. Trump’s decision to revoke the Philadelphia Eagles’ White House invitation honoring its Super Bowl win showcases his influence. Mr. Smith said NFL players and owners will lose political fights with Mr. Trump because tens of millions of Americans support him.

“Donald Trump has the NFL in the palm of his hands,” Smith said, Mediaite reported. “The fact that he has a constituency — the man got over 62 million votes. You got a lot of folks out there who are patrons of the NFL product. A matter of fact, some of the NFL owners are his friends. And make no mistake about it, the constituency they cater to, the patrons that they cater to, a lot of them were Trump voters. He knows it. He took the position that he took.”

Mr. Trump opted for an event Tuesday celebrating America in lieu of the Super Bowl champs.

“The Eagles wanted to send a smaller delegation, but the 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better,” Mr. Trump said in a statement released Monday night. “These fans are still invited to the White House to be part of a different type of ceremony — one that will honor our great country, pay tribute to the heroes who fight to protect it, and loudly and proudly play the National Anthem. I will be there at 3 p.m. with the United States Marine Band and the United States Army Chorus to celebrate America.”

The NFL passed new rules last month allowing players to stand in the locker room during the national anthem as a form of protest.

“[Mr. Trump] knows what he wants to do,” Mr. Smith said. “More importantly, he knows how to do it better than them, and he’s got them by the you-know-what, because they folded to him.”

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