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Trump Comments Inadvertently Galvanize NFL Toward Protest, Resistance

Just when you think youve seen it all, you wake up to find the President of the United States is attacking entire swaths of private citizens due to their refusal to relinquish the rights granted to them as American citizens in the Constitution of the United States.  

With Colin Kaepernicks national anthem protest has come a new day in the National Football League.  It is a day that I unknowingly alluded to six years ago when I penned a piece that reminisced on a prior age of athlete activism led by Muhammad Ali, Curt Flood, Bill Russell, Tommie Smith & John Carlos, as well as several others. It also alluded to the need for a new generation of athletes willing bring light to issues affecting their black countryman.  

A President who called a group of individuals adorned in the flags of Confederate and Nazi idealism in Charlottesville, Virginia Fine people has called NFL and NBA players who have protested or otherwise spoken out against institutional racism sons of bitches.   

PRESIDENT TRUMP CALLS OUT NFL Players Who KNEEL During National Anthem!

Friday, September 22, 2017: At a rally for Luther Strange in Alabama, President Donald Trump called out NFL players who sit or kneel during the national anthem and says that is why the ratings are down. Trump says NFL owners tell player who doesn’t respect the flag, “Get that son-of-a-bitch off the field.

As Captain America once said to Iron Man, Language!

Dogwhistling has been a part of political speak in America for centuries.  Often, the messages therein are situated to speak to a particular group of people, and against another group of people.  On many, many occasions, that other group has been African Americans. 

From Hillary Clintons super predators comments regarding the criminality of young black males, to Ronald Reagan’s “dark urges” speech on urban crime and Richard Nixons demonizing of black communities in order to justify the ongoing war on drugs, African Americans often find themselves as the punchline for veiled demagogues and others who would readily deny the rights of others based on race, while positioning themselves at the top of the totem pole. 

Donald J. Trump has departed from prior norms of presidential decorum by dictating to the NFL, a private corporation, what disciplinary measures are needed for players who protest during the national anthem.  

Donald J. Trump on Twitter

Roger Goodell of NFL just put out a statement trying to justify the total disrespect certain players show to our country.Tell them to stand!

To his credit, commissioner Goodell has been ardent in his defense of his players.  

The NBA, whose players have a bit more leeway to speak out on issues dear to their hearts, was clumped into that sons of bitches comment as well.   After it was first reported that the NBA champion Golden State Warriors might forego the traditional White House visit back in June, it was only a matter of time before the president addressed them.  

Seemingly always a day late and a billion short, the President rescinded the invitation to meet the president only after Stephen Curry said that he would urge teammates not to attend.

Donald J. Trump on Twitter

Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team.Stephen Curry is hesitating,therefore invitation is withdrawn!

After months of NFL owners denying that Kaepernick is being blackballed due to his political beliefs, players like Michael Bennett and Malcolm Jenkins have continued the protest against police brutality and American-style oppression. 

Additionally, each week another white player steps forward to support his gridiron comrades and shed light on an issue that has been a dark cloud over the happiness and livelihood of millions of descendants of African slaves for centuries.   Chris Long, Seth DeValve and Stephen Haushka have each followed their conscience as well.

Reportedly, there were eight NFL owners that donated at least a million dollars to Trump’s campaign.  So it’s somewhat surprising that he has come at the league in the manner that he has. 

However, would-be despots cannot stand dissension or perceived insubordination. It is also somewhat surprising how quickly the NFL has spoken out against Trump.  This has to infuriate him. Free thinking is discouraged by such individuals.  Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, stoic and business-like, announced to CBS Sports that the team will not be on the sidelines to participate in the national anthem ceremony.

NFLonCBS on Twitter

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin reveals to @JamieErdahl that the team will not be participating in today’s national anthem. https://t.co/5zihPWQsMv

The positive part about the childish ramblings of a man who leads the United States is that hes not sophisticated enough to hide his true feelings or effectively cloak his words in vagueness.  His divisive language is that of a white supremacist, his favorite pastime is to dismantle the legacy of a Black president (arguably one of the best all-time) and to coddle a political base of disenfranchised and, quite frankly, ignorant white males by redirecting the narrative.  

We see him for what he is and his words for what they are.  Once it becomes clear that an act is counter to the true ideals of American exceptionalism, the individual is then left to decide where he stands; with the people or with the status quo.  To that end, Bruce Maxwell of the Oakland Athletics became the first player in  MLB to protest the national anthem. 

Even former head coach turned ESPN analyst Rex Ryan has said that he regrets supporting Donald Trump for the presidency on ESPN’s NFL Countdown.  Here’s what the classy, measured former NFL great Charles Woodson had to say in response.

Mark O’Shea on Twitter

@EdgeofSports In the same show. Never seen anything like this. Prime time NFL https://t.co/8Gmh2aKMrR

Today, as players take the field, there has been a great deal of chatter regarding how players will react to the president. Some, like Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver DeSean Jackson, has said that he will protest, while others are deciding what motions to take as a team.  

Despite himself, Donald J. Trump has galvanized those who previously sat on the fence to speak out in favor of truth.  He might be the best thing to happen to athletes and activism since Muhammad Ali. 

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