There is a ton of news about what the current NFL protests mean, politically speaking. For the moment, I’m leaving that out. I want to take a different angle.

The first thing to know is that Donald Trump once played a key role in an upstart pro football league called the USFL, which lasted three seasons (1983-85) before it collapsed.

As the owner of the New Jersey Generals and the most powerful force in the League, Trump went up against the NFL. He wanted the USFL to schedule its games opposite the NFL starting in the fall, not the spring. Trump was a key player in suing the NFL for monopolistic practices.

The USFL won that suit, and was awarded the grand sum of…three dollars. Yes.

So The Donald has held a grudge against the NFL for a long time.

His recent tweets and statements, urging the league to take action against players disrespecting the National Anthem, urging teams to fire protesting players…all this has a history.

But there is a deeper story, and it emerges at a time when television ratings for the NFL have already been declining, and the television networks—especially ESPN—are carrying massive billion-dollar contracts with the NFL for the rights to broadcast games.

On top of that, ESPN features show-hosts who are firmly in the Colin Kaepernick, pro-protest camp. These talking heads are politicizing sports every day, and many fans don’t want that.

What do they want from ESPN and from the NFL games they watch? They want sports, competition, heroics on the field. They want their favorite teams to win and the teams they hate to lose. Period.

In theater, there is a phrase, “breaking the fourth wall.” It’s used to describe plays that address the audience directly and shatter the illusion of viewing a self-contained world on stage.

This is where the deeper story of football enters the scene. For fans, the political/sports commentary and the protests on the playing field are breaking the fourth wall.

They can’t watch the games in a trance.

They can’t enjoy the vicarious thrills and chills.

The same thing is happening in the television news business. During the Obama presidency, there was the (promoted) mainstream illusion that White House business was being conducted in the usual hermetically sealed container. It was a controlled stage play—and people could sit in front of their television sets in a popcorn trance and watch it unfold. All in all, with major exceptions, the hypnotic spell held. For a while.

But then along came Trump. He broke the fourth wall. He laughed at the press. He called them idiots. He attacked them mercilessly. He said they were fake.

This was quite disturbing to many news fans. It certainly was disturbing to the major news networks. They make their living by hypnosis.

And now it’s happening to one of the nation’s most cherished institutions of distraction: football.

It isn’t football anymore. It’s a mixed drink. With serious political overtones. What people want to get away from on Sundays, Monday and Thursday nights is what they’re being forced to swallow.

And Trump is making it much worse. He’s lighting the alcohol in the cocktail. He doesn’t care.

Where can millions of trance-seeking Americans go to get their fix? It’s a problem.

The protests have spilled over into the NBA and it looks like Major League Baseball may suffer the same indignity, thanks to Trump.

Here’s a piece of cognitive dissonance for you. At the beginning of yesterday’s NFL games, fans in several stadiums booed players for kneeling during the national Anthem. It’s hard to maintain a hypnotic spell in the middle of that contradiction.

What’s a “normal American” to do? Stay home and guzzle a six-pack while watching Sunday cable re-runs of Cops?

“Give me back my fourth wall!”

When people complain these days that they’re triggered by the contentious political scene in America, when they seek professional help for their disturbed mental state, in many cases they’re simply asking to return to simpler times.

“I want the news to lie to me as it’s always lied to me, and I want to believe. Let me concoct my old fantasies…”

In ancient Rome, it was bread, blood and circuses. Now it’s sponsors like Budweiser and Ford, concussions, and kneeling.

In order to corral millions of people in a news trance or a football trance, you need transmissions without disruptions.

Trump is escalating the disruptions.

Whether people are for or against his tweets about the NFL, the spell is being torn apart.

“I want my football! I want my fourth wall!”

Trump talks about building one wall on the southern border, and he’s ripping the “football wall.”

Aside from making business deals, disruption has always been Trump’s game.

In a nutshell, the major pastime of America, in modern times, is hypnosis. That sport appears to be falling apart.

This is the bigger issue. It comes down to: what is the individual going to do? What is he waking up to? What does he want others to wake up to?

Can the sleeper, jostled in his bed, forced to put his feet on the cold floor, build a better reality? Or will he look for another spell to fall under? Can he recognize he has been sleeping all this time?

Does he think his favorite trance, which is under attack, is the only reality that counts?

Waking up may be hard to do, but these days it is called for.

Think about this: On one side, we have people who love the flag, who support the veterans, who support US wars of empire in any far-flung place, who support the massive destruction of life in Iraq and Afghanistan, who support the government with its unending Surveillance State. On the other side, we have people who want to blame the basic conditions of inner cities on police, who want to avoid talking about gangs and shootings and drugs and the failed war on poverty and race baiters and the theft of jobs by Globalists.

Entering either of these realms is entering a trance. It may be an active trance, but the game is still hypnosis.

“If you can keep your head when all [those] about you are losing theirs…”

Controllers are in the business of pitting one trance against another, for profit, advantage, and power.

This article first appeared at

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