‘U Bum’: Trump’s attacks on athletes embarrassing and unpresidential
Trump’s comments undermine First Amendment right to peaceful protest
Violent white supremacists are “very fine people” but a football player exercising his First Amendment right to peaceful protest is a “son of a b*tch,” according to President Trump.
49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt during the National Anthem before each game last season. He has not been signed this season, and it’s no secret why. But in his stead, other players are taking a stand.
The Baltimore Ravens’ Terrell Suggs, Ray Lewis and other players knelt ahead of their 9:30 a.m. match against the Jaguars in London Sunday morning. Leonard Fournette, Jalen Ramsey and Calais Campbell were among the Jaguars players who participated in the peaceful protest. Players who did not kneel linked arms.
And several other teams including the Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins knelt during the National Anthem ahead of their 1 p.m. games.
If anything, Trump should be praising players for engaging in peaceful, non-violent protest, especially in light of the violent Charlottesville protest in August. By condemning the athletes’ protest, the president is undermining their First Amendment rights—on Twitter, of all places.
It is also apparent that Trump does not understand the purpose of the protests. He believes players are disrespecting the country and the flag. But the athletes are not making a statement against America; they are protesting police brutality and racial inequality.
Critics of players who choose to take a knee during the anthem insist that athletes should just focus on the game, and that politics should not have a place in football. But not only do athletes have a right to protest per their First Amendment rights, they also have a platform and should use it to speak out for justice. Other celebrities get criticized for not using their platforms enough to support equality—why shouldn’t this same standard apply to athletes?
The president didn’t stop his virulent rhetoric towards athletes there. He also took aim at Stephen Curry, a guard for the Golden State Warriors. Curry made a statement to ESPN on Friday indicating that he did not want to visit the White House because he disagreed with Trump’s policies.
The president immediately took to Twitter. “Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!” the president tweeted.
But Trump had never issued a formal invitation to the Warriors, nor had the entire team come to a consensus about whether to visit the White House or not.
Trump’s behavior is petty and unpresidential. He believes these athletes are disrespecting our country by exercising their First Amendment rights.
In reality, Trump is the one disrespecting the United States and the office of the presidency with his childish, inflammatory Twitter rants.
Police officers who engage in brutality and murder of unarmed black men are disrespecting our country.
Kaepernick, Curry and other athletes are the only individuals in this scenario expressing true American values. When players take a knee during the anthem or speak out against the President, they are engaging in peaceful protest and advocating for liberty and justice for all.
These athletes are not an embarrassment to our country.
But our President is.