A surprising headline, I know, considering how these two entities have not exactly been on speaking terms the past two years. President Trump has publicly ridiculed the over 100 professional football players who have taken a knee during the playing of the National Anthem the last two seasons, a trend started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. At one campaign rally, Trump even said the NFL had to get those "sons of b**ches" off the field. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell took months to finally get a new National Anthem policy. The 2018 guidelines "required players and league personnel on the sideline to stand but gives them the option to remain in the locker room if they don't want to stand."
With the new policy in place and relative quiet about the controversy, Trump and the NFL found some common ground this week. The football organization is singing the White House's praises for the First Step Act, legislation that if passed would usher in prison reform.
Inbox: the NFL endorses First Step Act criminal justice reform legislation pic.twitter.com/N0timxKrUT— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) December 12, 2018
The First Step Act, which aims to reduce recidivism rates, has actually been attracting compliments from several surprising sources. CNN's Van Jones was invited to the White House and commended Jared Kushner, who spearheaded the initiative, and the president for showing both leadership and compassion on the issue.
Another unlikely individual, Kim Kardashian, thanked Trump for helping secure the release of Alice Johnson, a grandmother who was serving a life sentence for a first time drug offense.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who shared initial hesitation about the "controversial" bill, announced this week that he'll be bringing the legislation to the floor. He had a change of heart after receiving a request from the president and noting "improvements" to the legislation.