In response to President Trump’s loud criticism of the NFL and its players, the league has decided to bring back their “Inside These Lines” Super Bowl ad to run in primetime tonight on NBC during Sunday Night Football.
That’s according to CNN’s Brian Stelter, who reports the league reached the decision this morning:
“We think this is the single best response to demonstrate what we are about,” an NFL spokesman told CNN. “It stands in stark contrast to some who practice the politics of division.”
The idea is to take the high road — avoiding any direct reference to Trump — by airing an inspirational message.
Here’s the ad, if you don’t remember it:
Inside these lines, we can bring out the best in each other and live united. pic.twitter.com/nQpUrKFL4T
— NFL (@NFL) September 24, 2017
Here’s the voiceover for the ad, if you’re wondering why the league would go this route:
“Inside these lines, we don’t have to come from the same place to help each other reach the same destination.
Inside these lines, we may have our differences, but recognize there’s more that unites us.
Inside these lines, it’s a game of inches, and there’s no such thing as an easy yard when you’re fighting to move forward.
Inside these lines, we’re not only defined by our victories, but by the way we handle our defeats.
Inside these lines, we can bring out the best in each other,
And live united–
Inside these lines.”
It’s certainly a well-produced commercial, and the league could have had a worse response to the widespread criticism from, of all places, the White House, but it is telling that both the league’s response here and so many of the statements teams and team owners have released statements attempting to disavow President Trump’s words without actually mentioning his name.
The league is in a difficult position, fearful of alienating a segment of its fans while also seemingly realizing that doing nothing is not an option. Whether or not they can successfully walk the tightrope remains to be seen.