Get that SOB off the field.
Those were the words of President Trump when describing football players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality.
Interestingly, athletes kneeling during the national anthem seems to be the only time in society that Our Flag is disrespected. No one who blasts these players act of protest seems to care about the flag being disrespected at any other time.
Look no further than what took place in Charlottesville this summer. White supremacists and neo-nazis took up torches to protest the removal of Confederate General Robert E Lee’s statue. President Trump said there were some very fine people among those racist, white supremacists.
But athletes kneeling silently in protest — most of them people of color — were SOBs and their White owners needed to run down to the field and punish them like some overseer on horseback keeping the field hands in line.
The language of white supremacy permeated both Trump’s speech as well as the follow up Monday press briefing by Sarah Sanders. Our Flag, Our Anthem, Our Country are all just code for whites only.
The right of athletes to speak out against societal issues has been around longer than there has even been a national anthem
That’s right, folks, whether to stand or kneel or do anything during the Star Spangled Banner is not as fundamental to this country as the rights embodied by the First Amendment. The national anthem came about 150 years the First Amendment was ratified.
More importantly, why standing during the national anthem or even having the anthem performed during sporting events is an issue of patriotism is beyond me. We don’t stand before the national anthem at any other thing in our society. None.
Our courts represent more of a nod to what it means to be an American than our football games. But we don’t stand before court procedures and hearings. Not even the Supreme Court does and they enforce the laws of the land and give legal protection to the rights that our troops fight to preserve.
They don’t perform or stand for a performance of the national anthem before the President gives the annual State of the Union. We don’t even require children to do the darn Pledge of Allegiance in Elementary School anymore.
So how is the act of kneeling or doing anything during the anthem at sporting events somehow some affront and act of emntiy towards America?
My grandparents’ entire generation went to war against the ideology of Fascism and Naziism. When we rise for the national anthem, in my mind, that is the generation I always think of.
Yet, President Trump did not say that people taking up the identity of those Nazis and those Nazi ideals were doing anything against Our Country or Our Flag. Even though every single member of the military Trump claims to adore has fought for the ideals of this nation that are directly contrary to that specific group.
In fact, President Trump not only refused to say that wasn’t an act against our nation but that there were some very fine people marching with those Nazis. Those protesters were speaking out in favor of hate, racism and wistfully mourned the passing of an era full of tyranny and violence towards blacks. And, wouldn’t you know it, they turned violent and assaulted people during their protest.
But these were some very fine people according to the President and, besides, there was blame to go around on many sides.
Black, Brown and White NFL players and athletes in other sports have gotten no such quarter. President Trump told the commissioner that he needed to get these “Certain” (another racial code word) players in line or they should be fired. No one shouted that the employers of the neo-nazi losers marching in Charlottesville should lose their employment even though, since many committing crimes during that march, one could argue they should lose their freedom.
Green Bay Packers tight end Martellus Bennett is the brother of Seattle Seahawks future hall of fame defensive lineman Michael Bennett, who is one of the players President Trump was referring to when he said that Roger Goodell and other owners should get those sons of bitches off the field and fire them.
“I’m ok with being fired for what I believe in,” Martellus Bennett tweeted. “I don’t have a master and neither does my mother. The idea of @realDonaldTrump thinking that suggesting firing me from football confirms that he thinks that it’s all I can do as a black man. Let’s take away the one thing a black man can do. That’ll set em straight. Naw bruh. We diverse. We aren’t just field niggas anymore. My mom is a beautiful lady and she has never been a bitch”
Bennett sat while other Green Bay players locked arms in solidarity during last Sunday’s game. The team stood with arms linked in solidarity before their Thursday night game against the Bears.
The players who participate in the NFL and in professional sports worked countless hours their whole lives to hone and refine the fundamentals they would need to compete at a high level. No player on any level of professional sports was handed anything, particularly the athletes who play violent sports like football.
It is not a life of privilege these men are being handed. They worked for it. They dedicate their lives to it. In some cases they die for it.
Being a professional athlete is not a privilege. It is earned through hard work and nothing more. The only one living a life of privilege is President Trump. He is the one who has been handed everything in life.
The life of elitism and privilege President Trump has enjoyed his entire life can be gotten everywhere. Even in the harshest, most oppressive dictatorships in the world, there are elite members of society living in towers oblivious to the hardships of those beneath them. No one has to fight to preserve or represent the type of lifestyle President Trump has. With his finances, he could live that life anywhere.
But it’s only in America where men and women can kneel during the national anthem and have the right to protest injustice without interference from our government. That’s what makes us American and that’s what our men and women in uniform have fought to preserve.