President Trump vs Professional Athletes

James Kim, Staff Writer

It all started in 2016 when Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback (at the time) sat on the bench during the national anthem. When asked why he was doing so, he explained that he was sitting due to the oppression of people of color and issues involving police brutality. He then began to take a knee during the anthem in order to pay more respect towards those who served in the military. While some people supported his activism and courage for acting upon the country’s issues, others harshly criticized him for disrespecting the country. Other players slowly joined him in this protest by kneeling, linking arms or raising a fist. In fact, cheerleaders, high school football players, athletes of other professional sports, and many others began to do this as well.

Throughout the first few weeks of the 2017 NFL season, players of all teams in the league took part in the protest. This has caught the attention of President Trump, who has backlashed the league through many tweets. On September 24th, he tweeted, “If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!” The next day he tweeted, “The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!” Although it is not allowed for team owners to do so, Trump is demanding them to fire players who take part in protests. In fact, during a rally in Alabama, he denounced the kneeling protesters in the NFL and specifically said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b—- off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!”

Professional football is not the only sport in flames with President Trump. The Golden State Warriors, who are the 2017 NBA Finals champions, were invited to the White House as part of a champion tradition. However, the team’s star point guard, Stephen Curry, stated that he does not wish to visit the White House. During a press conference Curry stated, “…we don’t stand for basically what our president has – the things that he’s said and the things that he hasn’t said at the right times – that we won’t stand for it…” He continued to explain how he wants changes to be made in the country and for others to be inspired by his message. MVP Kevin Durant added that he didn’t respect Trump and that he does not want to attend either. In response to this, Trump turned to his twitter account (once again) and posted, “Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!”

As seen, President Trump is not happy with numerous players in the sports world. As time passes and more games are played, it will be interesting to see how players continue to protest and react to Trump’s words. In addition, it will be compelling to see how future champions respond to the traditional white house invitation.

Photo credit: Fox News