Please Sit, Stand, or Kneel: Donald Trump vs. The NFL
I try to keep my work and personal life separate, but it’s easier said than done. Sometimes your boss emails you on the weekend about something urgent. Sometimes your President calls your favorite NFL superstars “sons of bitches” instead of the running the country. It’s hard when these two worlds collide, but don’t worry, I’m here.
Not sure what brought on Donald Trump’s vendetta against the NFL, maybe he needed to ignore the complete destruction of Puerto Rico and his already failing presidency. Regardless, Trump fired some tweets aimed at the NFL and the ongoing players’ protest during national anthems. Citing the league’s (actual) falling ratings, he claimed the country is offended by the demonstrations against the flag and national anthem. “If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag… If not, YOU’RE FIRED” preached the president.
The day before, Trump brought up Colin Kaepernick and the NFL during one of his rallies. My theory is that after blabbering on stage, he watches himself talk and tweets about it that morning. It would make a lot of sense, actually. His comments not only fanned the flames of racial tension in this country, but it ignited a new fire with the NFL and its fans.
President Trump’s comments earned a response from the only person hated more than Donald himself. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued a statement Saturday night in direct response to the president. Goodell explained that “Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.” Dissent spread from players, to owners, and all the way to the front office.
On Sunday, scores of extra players knelt or sat out the national anthem, this time in response to Donald Trump. Several teams, including the Seahawks and Titans, remained in the locker room to protest the national anthem. Even the linking of arms during the Star-Spangled Banner proved the league’s unity against the accusations from critics. Several owners, GM’s, and coaches issued statements refuting the implications from the president.
At some points, I feel like this thing is getting out of hand. Then other times, I see that this entire thing is working just as Colin Kaepernick wanted. This protest movement has grown so much that most people don’t even remember why it’s happening. Kaep first took a knee last season in response to the injustice between police officers and African-Americans. In this country today, the most recognizable and revered African-Americans are athletes. These figures might not have the power to influence laws, but they can certainly influence opinions and get people’s attention. Thank you, Colin Kaepernick.
As with literally anything anyone says or does, there’s going to be someone to argue and fight against them. We have seen (and definitely heard) the cliché response to similar movements and this one was no different. The one everyone, including Trump, is talking about is the reaction from none other than NASCAR. It’s easy to assume that the almost completely white demographic of NASCAR has never experienced inequality at the hands (or guns) of law enforcement. This is why I, and millions of others, don’t really care that no one at NASCAR races kneels for the national anthem. True American heroes.
For those complaining that they play a game for millions of dollars, should we also fault them when they use their platform to “kneel down” for what they believe in? You can hate them for being rich athletes, but you can’t also hate when they try to make a difference in the world. There are limited outlets for African-Americans to voice their feelings about racism that people will actually pay attention to. Every Sunday, we all watch these superstars play a game we love on a team we are obsessed with. Now, every Sunday, we will be reminded about the ongoing mistreatment and discrimination of people of color in America.
Written By: CJ Wilcox (@CJWilcox7)
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed by this writer are solely his own. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Couch Guy Sports, affiliates, or other contributors. Yeah, I’m surprised I can get away with it too.