NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is asking league owners and chief executives to encourage their players to stand during the national anthem. In a letter dated October 10, football’s top executive said standing honors the flag and the country, and fans expect players to show such respect.
“It is an important moment in our game,” Goodell declared. “The controversy over the Anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues. We need to move past this controversy, and we want to do that together with our players.”
Sportsbooks in Nevada can’t take novelty prop bets on social issues such as the NFL kneeling controversy, but overseas oddsmakers like Paddy Power are issuing lines. And the Irish site doesn’t believe Goodell’s appeal will be heard.
Paddy’s NFL special asking if “Both Super Bowl teams to have a player kneel during the national anthem” is unchanged after Goodell’s letter at 2-5. That represents implied odds of over 71 percent that at least one player will kneel on each sideline.
Win for Trump?
President Donald Trump has been very critical of football players kneeling during the national anthem. Players say their actions are to protest police brutality and racial inequality.
Goodell stops short of mandating that players stand, but certainly provides an altered “stance” on the kneeling controversy, which is largely being fueled by Trump. In September, Goodell responded to the president’s Twitter criticism in a statement that read, “Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL … and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.”
Despite Goodell’s flip-flop, there’s been no change to the odds of Trump attending Super Bowl LII in Minnesota (4-1), which signifies that bettors don’t think the commander-in-chief will be in the stands.
The president did, however, thank Goodell in his own unique roundabout way. “It is about time that Roger Goodell of the NFL is finally demanding that all players STAND … RESPECT OUR COUNTRY!” It’s worth noting that Goodell’s letter does not demand players stand.
NFL ratings continue to decline, with both Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football hitting season lows in week five.
Odds of Players Fired
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said this week he would consider benching any player who continues to kneel during the national anthem.
Paddy Power has offered a line asking whether “An NFL player to be officially fired as a result of a national anthem protest” for several weeks. In September, those odds were long at 33-1. Today, the line is just 5-1.
Finally, always ready to take on controversial bets, Paddy Power asks whether the national anthem simply won’t be performed during the Super Bowl, with current line long at 100-1.