On the night of Sept. 22, during a speech to an overwhelmingly white crowd in Alabama, President Trump criticized the National Football League and players who kneel during the national anthem specifically.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b— off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired,’” Trump said.
The president followed up on Twitter the next day: “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 (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!”
The president finished his NFL critique by saying it hurts the game “when people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they’re playing our great national anthem.”
Translation: “those people” — Black.
“People like yourselves” — white.
About 70 percent of NFL players are Black.
Never mind that “SOB” should not be a part of any president’s rhetoric. That should be a given.
On Sunday, every NFL game carried some level of demonstration by players, with some teams, like the Seahawks and Titans, going as far as not appearing on the field for the national anthem. In a statement, the Seahawks said: “We will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country.”
Robert Kraft, the Patriots’ chairman & CEO, said he was deeply disappointed by the president’s comments. “There is no greater unifier in this country than sports, and unfortunately, nothing more divisive than politics. I think our political leaders could learn a lot from the lessons of teamwork.”
Kraft and Trump have been friends for years. The Patriots owner donated $1 million to help pay for the president’s Jan. 20 inauguration.
The protest by NFL players is not disrespecting anyone or the flag or country. What if Rosa Parks had given up her seat? What if Martin Luther King, Jr. never voiced his opinion? What if all women like Susan B. Anthony had stayed in the kitchen?
Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.