John Oliver on Trump v the NFL: 'Something is horribly wrong'

On Last Week Tonight, John Oliver addressed the president’s feud with the NFL and looked at the implications of corporate consolidation

On Last Week Tonight, John Oliver turned his attention to Donald Trump’s feud with NFL players who chose to kneel in protest against discrimination and violence towards minorities.

“The president of the United States took time out while, it is worth noting, that 3 million American citizens in Puerto Rico are without power, to call Colin Kaepernick a son of a bitch,” said Oliver.

He said NFL owners and even the controversial NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, had spoken out against the president, who used a rally on Friday night to denounce NFL players and to call for those who choose to protest to be fired.

“Even NFL commissioner Roger Goodell denounced the president’s comments,” continued Oliver. “When you have lost the moral high ground to Roger fucking Goodell, something is horribly wrong.”

Oliver also pointed out the president’s fondness for hugging the star-spangled banner. “How is kneeling in front of a flag more disrespectful to it that grinding it against your gnarled, old boner?” he wondered.

John Oliver on corporate consolidation

The comedian then turned his attention to the corporate consolidation culture that he believes is severely damaging America’s small businesses.

“It can feel like we’re in a golden age of small-business startups, but that isn’t actually the case,” said Oliver. “The rate at which small businesses are being created has actually been steadily falling since the 1970s. And I would argue that one of the reasons for that is that big businesses have been getting even bigger.

“Recent years have seen record highs in mergers and acquisitions,” said Oliver, before showing footage of the breathless enthusiasm American business news shows give the deals.

“All this merger activity has helped make some sections of our economy ridiculously consolidated.” Oliver used the examples of air travel, which now only has four airlines that dominate 80% of the sector, and car rental, where Avis, Hertz and Enterprise have 90% of all business.

He also said HBO’s own parent company, TimeWarner, was currently trying to merge with AT&T, which made the segment “pretty dangerous for [them] to do”.

Oliver noted that the usually pro-merger business journalist Jim Cramer was in disbelief at a recent deal in which the number of major aluminum can producers went from three to two.

“It’s not great when a business casual Louis CK with a sound effects board is saying, ‘Holy shit, this is a really bad idea,’” said Oliver.

Guardian staff

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