The XFL is coming back, this time with the intention of taking advantage of Donald Trump’s America.
WWE founder and chairman Vince McMahon announced on Thursday that the professional American football league will return for another go, beginning in January 2020.
McMahon teased some details as to how the league will be structured, but what truly stood out in the introduction were the requirements that will essentially serve to control the players on and off the field.
Players with criminal records won’t be allowed in the league, while McMahon intends for all players to stand during the national anthem. There will be no platform for individuals to express themselves politically or socially.
McMahon has characterised the league as being apolitical and family-friendly, but don’t be fooled by his attempt to keep important issues away from the game while keeping the focus soley on football.
The XFL is as much a move to benefit from American’s current climate as it is to capitalise on the never-ending hunger for the nation’s most popular sport.
McMahon is a business man and he knows there is a market for what he’s pitching. Look no further than the countless number of NFL followers who’ve become sick and tired of seeing young, outspoken black men kneel during a song which those fans deem more sacred than the values it stands for.
Many of those same voices are also the ones referring to NFL players – again, often young black men – as ‘thugs’ whenever those players cross a line, whether it’s legally or morally.
By essentially barring those types of players from the XFL, McMahon is inviting disgruntled NFL fans to consume a product that is tailored to them.
And here’s the thing: it might just work.
The return of the XFL, in theory, shouldn’t be much of a success. If the league couldn’t last more than a single season in 2001 when football was at the height of its powers, there’s no reason it should now when the concern over head injuries is at an all-time high.
This iteration of the XFL will also go against the identity that made its initial version so appealing, at least at the start.
XFL 1.0 was anti-establishment and rebellious in nature, fetishising violence, chaos and anarchy.
XFL 2.0, however, has been made out by McMahon to be authoritarian and censored.
Again, it shouldn’t have much of a shelf life in a time the general population is more socially aware and conscious than ever.
But Donald Trump wasn’t expected to be elected President either.
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