Remember when people wanted professional athletes to stick to sports and then the president of the United States went and called some “sons of bitches”? Good times.
In today’s age of instant reaction, most on social media spout their “expert” opinion on any given subject with absolute certainty.
But, when professional athletes choose to voice an opinion and stand up to injustice on what happens to be one of the biggest platforms in the United States, now people got a problem.
This started with former Super Bowl quarterback Colin Kaepernick staying seated during the playing of the national anthem during a preseason game on Aug. 16, 2016, in a show that he would no longer stand idly by while people of color were treated unequally, unjustly, unlawfully and not afforded the same liberties in the United States that white people have.
The former 49ers quarterback sat down with Nate Boyer, a former NFL player and U.S. Army veteran, who suggested Kaepernick kneel like soldiers do to honor the fallen, because that would be more respectful. And Kaepernick listened.
Now, he has been blackballed by the NFL, seeing quarterbacks of much lesser talent get a shot while he remains a free agent in his athletic prime. Teams have teased the thoughts of signing him, but the overwhelming majority of NFL owners, which are old white men, have stayed away in fear of bringing a “distraction” into the locker room.
Most people think Kaepernick is disrespecting the flag and the men and women who have sacrificed and died protecting our country. In a media session on Aug. 28, 2016, he addressed the issue.
“I have great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country,” Kaepernick said. “I have family, I have friends that have gone and fought for this country. They fight for freedom … they fight for liberty and justice, for everyone. That’s not happening. People are dying in vain, because this country isn’t holding their end of the bargain up, as far as giving freedom and justice, liberty to everybody. That’s something that’s not happening.”
Since, the movement has grown and evolved into something bigger, across all sports, into popular culture, and broken onto the mainstream.
So, when the orange Nazi-sympathizer blew his racist dog whistle at a rally, the league responded.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired,’” Trump said.
In Week 3, the league decided to show unity, locking arms during the national anthem, kneeling prior and supporting their teammates who have been attacked by the commander in coward. More than 200 players kneeled or remained seated during the anthem to show Kaepernick is not alone and his stance is felt and supported by many of his peers, who feel he deserves to be in the NFL right now.
And it isn’t just the NFL Trump is going after. Two-time NBA champion and league MVP Steph Curry and other members of the Golden State Warriors said they opposed attending the White House to visit, as most league champions do. When Trump got wind of this, he pulled the classic, “You’re not breaking up with me, I’m breaking up with you!” move, like a child.
It’s revealing how the president of the United States could condemn professional athletes for taking a stance on an important issue, yet excused TIKI torch-wielding Nazis terrorizing the streets of Charlottesville, Va., earlier this year.
What’s also fun is social media during divisive times like this, because it allows you to see which of the kids you went to high school with turned Trump bigots.
So, when professional athletes take a stance on an issue such as this, maybe you should put your torch down and take notice. The country is desperately trying to come together to withstand the evil in the White House, and that’s why the platform they’ve earned is the perfect place to stand or kneel for what you believe in.