Critics came out in force after Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill orchestrated a campaign to endorse President Donald Trump’s second Supreme Court nomination this week.
Bidwill, who went to high school with nominee Brett Kavanaugh, was the impetus behind an endorsement letter signed by himself, New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and more than 150 classmates of Kavanaugh from his time at Georgetown Prep.
The letter was sent to Senators Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer, Chuck Grassley and Dianne Feinstein and encouraged them to “”rise above the passions and examine who Brett Kavanaugh is and whether his juridical ability, extensive experience and many accomplishments in public service qualify him to the position of an Associate Justice.”
The Kavanaugh pick has been contentious for varied reasons politically, but critics lashed out at Bidwill and the Cardinals for making a political statement at the same time the NFL has cracked down on players protesting during the national anthem before games.
On a Tuesday morning radio show, Bidwill defended taking a stance and claimed he wants players to speak out on political issues — just not on game days.
“I think it’s important to speak up,” Bidwill said. “People are saying stick to sports? You know what? We ask our players 20 days a year — game days — to restrict their statements. The rest of the days, we want our players to get engaged in the community. Just like I am and other owners are.”
“In fact, I’m working with (an NFL) committee called the Social Justice Committee, where we’re working with players across the league to get them more involved in changing policy and making America a better place for everyone.”
A story about the letter was also posted on the team website and promote by the team’s official Twitter account.
The NFL Players Association announced Tuesday the filing of a non-injury grievance challenging the NFL’s recently imposed national anthem policy.
The union contends “this new policy, imposed by the NFL’s governing body without consultation with the NFLPA, is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement and infringes on player rights.”
The anthem policy, approved by NFL owners in May, requires players, coaches and personnel on the field to stand when the anthem is played. The policy permits teams to choose to stay in the locker room during the national anthem, but calls for fines and punishment for any mode of disrespect.