As the national anthem blared prior to today’s NFL game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars in London, many Ravens players and coaches locked arms. Some of them kneeled.
On the opposite sideline, Jaguars owner Shad Khan, who has been a supporter of DonaldTrump, locked arms with his players.
Shad Khan, owner of the @Jaguars
As I’m sure you’re aware, the petulant Trump has been on a juvenile verbal warpath recently around NFL players and their silent protests during the playing of the anthem. He called for fans to boycott the league, and for owners to summarily fire any player who decided to exercise their first amendment rights on the NFL stage.
But if he wanted to turn up the pressure on the players for being, as he referred to Colin Kaepernick, “a son of a bitch”, his mental midgetry has had the exact opposite effect. Folks have reached the breaking point of this nonsense, and Kaepernick’s protest, despite the fact that he’s unemployed, has mushroomed into a movement that has no signs of slowing down.
The scheduled games throughout the Sunday slate, along with Monday night’s game between the Cowboys and the Cardinals, are expected to be rife with silent protest in a way that the league and the sports world has not seen. This morning, and on an international stage no less with the world watching, the Ravens and Jaguars set the tone.
A day of expected protests around the NFL began with the Jaguars and Ravens setting the tone in London. https://t.co/VxAmgcZNBS
Today was the first time that any Ravens player stepped out of the darkness and into the light that Kaepernick has been trying illuminate by protesting during the anthem. And in what was a surprise to man former Ravens legend Ray Lewis, an honorary captain for the game, also took a knee during the anthem.
In a statement released by the Ravens during the game’s first half, owner Syeve Bisciotti said, We recognize our players influence. We respect their demonstration and support them 100 percent. All voices need to be heard. Thats democracy in its highest form.
During what could only be termed as a bizarre campaign a rally on Friday night in Alabama that was robust with his usual strains racism, isolationism and narcissism embedded in his sophomoric rhetoric, Trump challenged team owners to get rid of players that protest during the anthem, and called on fans to walk out of games if such protests go on.
That’s a total disrespect of our heritage. That’s a total disrespect of everything that we stand for,” Trump said. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired.”
The sports world clapped back with vigilance and purpose.
On addition to a deluge of Tweets from NFL and NBA players, Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first MLB player to bring the protest to the baseball diamond by kneeling during the national anthem on Friday.
Courtesy of @sfchronicle, the A’s Bruce Maxwell becomes the first MLB to kneel during the National Anthem.
The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we’ve experienced over the last month. 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.
And now the owners, similar to Bisciotti’s statement in support of democracy operating at its highest form, are emerging to put Trump back where he belongs – in juvenile detention.
Statement from Miami Dolphins Owner and Founder of Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) Stephen Ross.
I am proud to be associated with so many players who make such tremendous contributions in positively impacting our communities, said New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a well-known Trump supporter. Their efforts, both on and off the field, help bring people together and make our community stronger. 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 and the importance of working together toward a common goal.
Donald Trump, despite his slogans and smokescreens, has been intent on making America Hate Again. But the blowback of his most recent verbal defecations have had an effect that his limited mind could have never imagined.
He actually emboldened and enhanced Colin Kaepernick’s cause, causing a groundswell of unity and solidarity around forcing America to confront its insidious and deadly disease of racism. And for that, despite having the opposite effect that he intended, his malodorous mental meanderings have actually made people realize that enough is enough.
It is time to really Make America Great Again. And that impetus and movement to create dialogue leading to measurable change is now taking place on an NFL sideline near you.