The tagline on the Nike ad that riled up the world this week was “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Colin Kaepernick’s endorsement on the eve of the NFL season had idiots burning shoes they’d already paid for, the president typically unable to keep his mouth shut, and reminders from the left that making this stand does not change Nike’s horrendous record on labor.
It’s not a mystery why Nike put out the ad. While Michael Jordan may or may not have said, “Republicans buy sneakers, too,” and that line definitely gave sports-adjacent blowhard and sayer of “boobs” on CNN Clay Travis a fun name for his book, whose cover features Donald Trump dunking on Kaepernick… the fact of the matter is that in the shoe company’s calculation, they could afford to piss those people off. Nike doesn’t make an ad with KKaepernickunless they think it’s good for Nike, now and in the future.
Kaepernick, meanwhile, remains a quarterback without a team, and at this point, given that he’ll be 31 in November, is continuing to pursue a collusion claim against the NFL, and hasn’t taken a professional snap since New Year’s Day in 2017, it seems rather unlikely that he’ll ever play again.
The league, then, is free to continue doing what it does best, which is believing in making gobs of money and sacrificing absolutely nothing. Nobody is better at this than Jerry Jones, billionaire asshole owner of the Dallas Cowboys, and on Thursday, the king did it again.
The Cowboys are the first team in the NFL (which last year fined players just for taking part in an arm wrestling contest at a Vegas casino) with an official casino. WinStar World is a sprawling gambling complex about an hour and a half north of Dallas, just on the Oklahoma side of the Red River in Thackerville – and one of three locations of Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill, if that’s more your thing than blackjack or off-track betting.
The off-track betting is important, because it shows WinStar World’s readiness to move into the arena of sports wagering, once that becomes legal in Oklahoma. A bill has bin introduced to do so in the legislature, and while nothing has come of it just yet, there is some expectation that Oklahoma will join the growing list of states with legal sports betting over the winter.
With Texas further away from legalization, Jones is smart to look north and set up a relationship with a casino now, because the fact that it’s a long road from here to European-style, in-stadium betting should not mean that teams here lose out now on the chance to make easy money.
Even more importantly, it’s a sign of football openly embracing gambling. Given the way that people on both sides of the political spectrum have been trashing the league for the way it has handled everything from brain injuries to domestic violence to the national anthem, it is absolutely vital that the NFL lock in its core constituency, people who need the Cowboys to cover a 4.5-point spread because the Jets screwed everything up in the early game by kicking a meaningless late field goal. And Jerry Jones is on it.