Olivier Vernon, New York Giants defensive end, caused a furor after he told NFL fans on Thursday if they don’t approve of his choice to kneel during the national anthem: “don’t come to the game”.
In his full statement, Vernon said:
You hear ‘coward’ and ‘stand up’ and ‘disgrace’. It’s fine. As long as nobody comes on the field and touches me. You stay where you at, you’re going to be all right. They have a right. Oh yeah, I hear it all the time. If they don’t like it, don’t come to the game.
CBS Sports commentator Boomer Esiason called Vernon’s comments an “out-and-out disgrace”. Notably, Vernon signed an $85 million, five-year contract with the New York Giants – making him the most profitable defensive end in NFL history. Esiason further pointed out:
Here is a guy you gave $80 million to basically telling your fans, ‘If you don’t like it, don’t come’. It is the most egregious act of defiance. It just blows me away.
It’s no secret that the NFL is struggling – as reported by The Gateway Pundit, empty seats are plaguing stadiums and games across the nation. Boomer Esiason called out Vernon, asking if he understood the business model of the NFL:
Do you realize, Olivier Vernon, that you do not make the money unless the fans do come and buy the tickets and buy your jersey? Do you not realize that when the TV turns on, there is a large swath of advertisers that buy around the league so that you can make the freaking money that you make?
Considering Vernon has not backed down from his statements, it seems he doesn’t understand how the League makes the money they pay him or he just doesn’t care – either way, until they focus on what the fans want, the NFL will continue to fail.