Issued September 22, 2017
In a speech given in Alabama on September 22, 2017, President Donald Trump said “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when someone disrespects our flag, to say ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now! He is fired! He’s fired!'”
The statement was in response to a small handful of National Football League (NFL) players refusing to stand during the playing of the national anthem before the start of a game. Colin Kaepernick, an African – American NFL player, started the protest in 2016 because he did not want to “show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” A small handful of NFL players also began taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem. On the first NFL Sunday after the President’s remarks, more players took a knee in silent protest while also linking arms with fellow players. Some NFL teams also made a statement against the President’s remarks by intentionally choosing to not be on the field during the playing of the anthem. LEARN MORE, LEARN MORE
The racial implications of Donald Trump’s statement cannot be ignored. What is disturbing is how the President responded to two incidents – one a tragedy at a white – supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia and the other an ongoing silent protest by African – American athletes in the NFL. After a young woman was killed protesting against a white – supremacist rally in Charlottesville, President Trump refused to condemn the white supremacist hate group. His response was universally condemned (but applauded by a KKK leader) and seen as giving support to a race-based hate group.
His statement about NFL players silently protesting racial injustice is troubling because it gives rise to the perception that the President is incapable of dealing with the racial divisions in this country. The white – supremacist protesters in Charlottesville engaged in an act of horrifying violence that killed one person yet Mr. Trump was unable to clearly condemn the action. The NFL players, the majority of whom are African – American, are merely performing an act of silent protest before going on to play in a game. Yet Mr. Trump saw to it to call them “sons of bitches.” Surely an act of violence that ended in death in Charlottesville is more of a problem than a simple symbolic gesture done by professional athletes. Mr. Trump’s comforting statements to white supremacist groups and hostile statements to black men protesting racial injustice clearly shows that he lacks the leadership necessary to understand and help heal the racial divisions in this country. LEARN MORE, LEARN MORE
- American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) – nonprofit group’s statement on President’s Trump NFL players statement.
- Southern Poverty Law Center – nonprofit group web page dedicated to fighting hate and extremism.
- Stomp Out Bullying – nonprofit group focused on ending bullying and increasing civility, inclusion, and equality.
This brief was compiled by Rod Maggay. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.