The NFL takes a knee against our white-supremacist-in-chief Donald Trump

No individual has disgraced and diminished the office of the presidency with his puerile conduct more than Donald Trump. Vladimir Putin could not be more pleased with his handiwork and  the damage that Trump is inflicting on the status and moral  leadership of the presidency. Trump is systematically attempting to dismantle the foundational principles, values and mores of American democracy.

Putin pal Donald Trump is no position to question the patriotism of any American.

Over the weekend, Donald Trump turned his plan to divide Americans  on America’s professional sports teams and athletes — in particular, African-American athletes who protest police violence against minorities — something Donald Trump has encouraged, Trump’s speech encouraging police to be ‘rough’, and more recently, to protest Trump’s failure to adequately condemn white supremacist hate speech after Charlottesville.

In this regard, the U.S. Congress unanimously agrees that Trump has failed to adequately condemn white supremacist hate speech. Congress takes Trump to task over his Charlottesville comments.

President Trump is trying to silence athletes who protest police violence in his “law and order,”  i.e. , institutional racism world, and more directly, silence critics of his white supremacy by attempting to reframe their protests as unpatriotic and disrespect for the flag. “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel” – Samuel Johnson, 1775.

We have seen this right-wing play before when the Bush-Cheney regime tried to silence the Dixie Chicks for their public criticism of their unnecessary and illegal war in Iraq.  Like the Dixie Chicks, NFL players, coaches and owners were Not Ready to Make Nice on Sunday.

Fueled by Trump’s Tweets, Anthem Protests Grow to a Nationwide Rebuke:

On three teams, nearly all the football players skipped the national anthem altogether. Dozens of others, from London to Los Angeles, knelt (right, 32 Denver Broncos) or locked arms on the sidelines, joined by several team owners in a league normally friendly to President Trump. Some of the sport’s biggest stars joined the kind of demonstration they have steadfastly avoided.

It was an unusual, sweeping wave of protest and defiance on the sidelines of the country’s most popular game, generated by Mr. Trump’s stream of callsto fire players who have declined to stand for the national anthem in order to raise awareness of police brutality and racial injustice.

What had been a modest round of anthem demonstrations this season led by a handful of African-American players mushroomed and morphed into a nationwide, diverse rebuke to Mr. Trump, with even some of his staunchest supporters in the N.F.L., including several owners, joining in or condemning Mr. Trump for divisiveness.

* * *

As the sideline demonstrations unfolded on Sunday, Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter: “Great solidarity for our national anthem and for our Country. Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable. Bad ratings!”

And before boarding Air Force One in the evening, Mr. Trump told reporters that his comments had “nothing to do with race or anything else — this has to do with respect for our country and respect for our flag.”

Bullshit! Our white-supremacist-in-chief wants to reframe these protests as unpatriotic and disrespect for the flag, but you should not be fooled by the blatant transparency of his desire to divide Americans on race.

Charles Blow of the New York Times has a powerful must-read column today to address Trump’s latest racist outrage. A Rebel, a Warrior and a Race Fiend:

Donald Trump is operating the White House as a terror cell of racial grievance in America’s broader culture wars.

He has made his allegiances clear: He’s on the side of white supremacists, white nationalists, ethno-racists, Islamophobes and anti-Semites. He is simpatico with that cesspool.

And nothing gets his goat quite like racial minorities who stand up for themselves or stand up to him.

Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors was asked about the annual rite of championship teams visiting the White House, and Curry made clear that he didn’t want to go because “we basically don’t stand for what our president has said, and the things he hasn’t said at the right time.”

Trump responded to Curry’s expressed desire not to go by seeming to disinvite the entire team, to which Curry responded with a level of class that is foreign to Trump. Curry said, “It’s surreal, to be honest.” Curry continued: “I don’t know why he feels the need to target certain individuals, rather than others. I have an idea of why, but it’s kind of beneath a leader of a country to go that route. That’s not what leaders do.”

Of course, Curry is correct. Not only is this episode surreal, the entire Trump tenure is surreal. He is not a leader.

Separately, on Friday night at a political rally in Alabama, Trump took to task N.F.L. players who kneel in protest during the national anthem and N.F.L. owners who allow it.

Trump said owners should respond by saying: “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. Fired!”

Pause. No, full stop. Folks, this cretin is who we are supposed to call a “president.” He uses harsher language against people quietly protesting injustice than he does against violent racists marching through the streets. Unbelievable. O.K., continue.

Last year, Colin Kaepernick, who was then a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, kicked off these protests when he began to quietly kneel during the pre-game playing of the national anthem.

At the time he explained his rationale to NFL Media, saying: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” He continued, “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Let alone that the anthem was authored by a white supremacist, Francis Scott Key, who was a proponent of African colonization — exporting free blacks back to Africa — and an opponent of the anti-slavery movement.

Let alone the fact that the third stanza of that anthem, the part that you never hear, goes like this:

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,

That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,

A home and a country, should leave us no more?

Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.

No refuge could save the hireling and slave,

From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave.

This is thought by some to be an excoriation of the Colonial Marines, a mostly black unit composed primarily of runaway slaves who fought for the British during the War of 1812, on the promise of attaining their freedom. The unit humiliated Key’s own unit in battle.

As Jason Johnson, a professor of political science at Morgan State University and political editor at The Root wrote on the site last year: With a few exceptions,” Key “was about as pro-slavery, anti-black and anti-abolitionist as you could get at the time.”

Kaepernick’s objection is valid on its own, but the anthem itself is problematic. It all points to the complexity we encounter when we pull back the gauzy veil of hagiographic history we have woven.

The exploitation of black bodies and the spilling of black blood are an indelible part of the American story, and how we deal with that says everything about where we are as a nation and who we are.

This is about far more than football and flags, about more than basketball and battle cries. This is about American memory, the ongoing quest for equality, the racial inequities fused to the DNA of power in this country. This is also about the response to minority advances and the coming minority-to-majority demographic conversion.

This is about the honest appraisal of what America was, is, and should be.

Trump is not a proper leader for any moment or any conversation, let alone this moment and this conversation.

Trump has no desire to advance truth and reconciliation when it comes to race in this country. His venality and vulgarity seeks only to exploit white racial anxiety and hostility, in the most vulgar of terms, to maximum political gain.

With every passing day, Trump diminishes the office of the presidency and elevates a virulent strain of racial animus. Trumpism is becoming ever more synonymous with racism.

28 Responses to The NFL takes a knee against our white-supremacist-in-chief Donald Trump

  1. This is what Trump wants to unleash. It’s all one big Klan rally as far as he is concerned.
    ***
    Pennsylvania fire chief calls Steelers coach Mike Tomlin a ‘no-good n*gger’ over NFL protests
    Brad Reed BRAD REED
    26 SEP 2017 AT 07:57 ET

    A fire chief from Pennsylvania has apologized for calling Steelers coach Mike Tomlin a “no-good n*gger” after his team did not come out onto the field for the national anthem during this Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears.

    CBS Pittsburgh reports that Paul Smith, the chief of the volunteer fire department in Cecil Township, Pennsylvania, posted on Facebook that Tomlin “just added himself to the list of no-good n*ggers” for his decision to note take the field during the anthem.

    https://www.rawstory.com/2017/09/pennsylvania-fire-chief-calls-steelers-coach-mike-tomlin-a-no-good-ngger-over-nfl-protests/

  2. For Sure Not Tom

    Trump ignorantly tweeted about Pat Tillman the other day. Here’s the response from his widow.

    “Marie Tillman rebuked Trump’s comments, saying that her husband died to protect freedoms including the right to peacefully protest.

    “The very action of self expression and the freedom to speak from one’s heart — no matter those views — is what Pat and so many other Americans have given their lives for,” she told CNN’s Brian Stelter. “Even if they didn’t always agree with those views. It is my sincere hope that our leaders both understand and learn from the lessons of Pat’s life and death, and also those of so many other brave Americans.”

    Goddamn it GOP, you pick stupid fights while 4 million Americans suffer.

  3. For Sure Not Tom

    4 millions Americans without power, water, communication, food, and the leader of the GOP is tweeting about the “great anger” he caused, and picking fights with American athletes.

    The GOP is sick. You’re leader is sick.

    Go fix the problems in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, help Texas and Florida, then start a stupid fight over a song.

    What is wrong with you people?

  4. Trump still at it, can’t let go…

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 2h2 hours ago

    But while Dallas dropped to its knees as a team, they all stood up for our National Anthem. Big progress being made-we all love our country!

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 2h2 hours ago

    The booing at the NFL football game last night, when the entire Dallas team dropped to its knees, was loudest I have ever heard. Great anger

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 3h3 hours ago

    Ratings for NFL football are way down except before game starts, when people tune in to see message

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 15h15 hours ago

    Tremendous backlash against the NFL and its players for disrespect of our Country.
    #StandForOurAnthem

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 15h15 hours ago

    General John Kelly totally agrees w/ my stance on NFL players and the fact that they should not be disrespecting our FLAG or GREAT COUNTRY!

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 15h15 hours ago

    .@CNN is #FakeNews. Just reported COS (John Kelly) was opposed to my stance on NFL players disrespecting FLAG, ANTHEM, COUNTRY. Total lie!

  5. trump points out nascar owners threaten to fire any driver that takes a knee for anthem. as the confederate flag has always been their “real” symbol. in 1963 wendell scott won the jacksonville race but the owner of the track gave the trophy to buddy baker and said he won so scott wouldn’t kiss the white trophy girl! the told him they didn’t want coloreds racing and he would probably be shot if he tried to race. wendell scott said if they kill me they kill me I am racing. he raced as an unsponsored independent against factory teams. bubba watson who is black and won nascar truck races was sponsored by nascar as no owners would hire a “negro” and can’t get a ride because of the racist owners. they are also sexists danica patrick has been dropped from her team and next year no woman has a drive in nascar. jennifer jo cobb has to drive junk because she can’t get a team drive and has to operate off her winnings. if she is wrecked she is out of business as she is a driver owner to stay in racing. girls and women are desperate to compite with boy and men ;but these sexist owners won’t give them a chance. indy car has no full time women drivers and only lets poppa mann drive indy because they couldn’t find a quality male driver. roger penske is a sexist pig. target dept. stores pulled out of nascar when they were asked why they have no women drivers even though women buy most of their products.

  6. kent state may 4 1970. freedom isn’t free infact it is the most expensive thing their is. this is only one of many where protestors were killed.

    • “…freedom isn’t free…”

      Were the protestors at Kent State protesting for freedom? I thought they were protesting the Viet Nam War and the soldiers fighting the war were fighting for freedom (of South Viet Nam).

      • the soldiers were mostly draftees. kent state students were shot by national guard for exercising their freedom to protest vietnam war. they were fighting to contain communism. that is why we installed are stooge gen.thieu to run south vietnam for u.s.

  7. Barf bags up! The latest from Trump…

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 8h8 hours ago

    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!

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 8h8 hours ago

    Many people booed the players who kneeled yesterday (which was a small percentage of total). These are fans who demand respect for our Flag!

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 8h8 hours ago

    So proud of NASCAR and its supporters and fans. They won’t put up with disrespecting our Country or our Flag – they said it loud and clear!

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 21h21 hours ago

    Sports fans should never condone players that do not stand proud for their National Anthem or their Country. NFL should change policy!

    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account @realDonaldTrump 24h24 hours ago

    Courageous Patriots have fought and died for our great American Flag — we MUST honor and respect it! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!

    • For Sure Not Tom

      Trump is creating a controversy to distract his base from Mueller.

      Funny, Trump has his knickers in a bunch over some American football players taking a knee, when he himself has clearly taken two in front of Putin.

    • “Many people booed the players who kneeled yesterday (which was a small percentage of total). These are fans who demand respect for our Flag!”

      I’m surprised he didn’t add “for witches stands”.

      • For Sure Not Tom

        Hey, remember when we all had to pledge allegiance and stand during the National Anthem?

        No, you don’t, because that was fascism under Nazi Germany.

        What Makes America Great is that we don’t force people to be White Nationalists.

        It’s a choice most of our local politicians make freely.

        • I had to take the pledge in school. though I did change some of the words when I said it :I pledge alligence to the flag and to the oligarchy for which it stands highly divisible under money with liberty and justice for the rich and the powerful! and remember the golden rule : those with the gold rule. that was in the 1950’s some things never change!

        • Sen. John Kavanagh

          We also don’t force people to be football fans, as the NFL will soon learn.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            Oh, big man, making threats against against the NFL.

            They’re sooooooo scared.

          • An NFL boycott was already in progress. It was in support of Colin Kaepernick who has been blacklisted for taking a knee during the national anthem. Also, other people are turning against the NFL because of the connection between concussions (as well as lesser brain trauma) and CTE. The test results on convicted murderer and former Patriots player Aaron Hernandez showed Stage 3 CTE, so the NFL has been getting some bad press.

            However, despite all of this, President Phat Phuc will tweet that lower ratings are because so many people support him and not the unpatriotic players.

        • “What Makes America Great is that we don’t force people to be White Nationalists.”

          That’s it? That’s all that makes American great? While it is true that we do not force people to be “White Nationalists” we certainly do require people to be politically correct, which runs contrary to the promise of freedom.

        • Well, I went to Catholic schools. Throughout eight years of grammar school we gathered in the yard adjacent to the school, some 8th grader would raise the flag, and we stood for the pledge of allegiance and sang one of three patriotic songs (The Star Spangled Banner, America the Beautiful, or My Country tis of Thee).

          The south was still segregated for some of those years so there wasn’t liberty and justice for all (and still isn’t). But I don’t recall making the connection. No one in my class ever asked about it.

          • I should clarify. I did not mean to suggest that the children I went to school with were not aware of segregation, they most definitely were. I’m just recalling that reciting the pledge every morning was essentially rote, probably the same as singing the national anthem at NFL games. It’s only an issue because a black guy used it as an opportunity to protest police brutality.

  8. Rev. Dr. Barber‏ @RevDrBarber 4h4 hours ago

    Considering what Trump, Sessions, Ryan & McConnell are trying to do in Washington, we should all be on our knees. #TakeTheKnee.

  9. For Sure Not Tom

    Trump picked a fight for no reason other than to fire up his rabid, racist base, and he lost.

    The protest went from a handful of NFL players to nearly all NFL players, coaches, and owners.

    He’s a loser.

    John Kavanagh said in another thread that the players are keeping their motives secret. He spends too much time with right wing media, who won’t say anything to upset their old white people base.

    Here’s just a few of the players explaining their motives, and describing how long they’ve been protesting.

    https://thinkprogress.org/protests-own-words-c9c9825b3b24/

    • Sen. John Kavanagh

      I did not say I believed that. I questioned your saying they thought the national anthem was racist. Read more carefully.

    • For Sure Not Tom

      Sen. John Kavanagh | September 24, 2017 at 4:47 pm | Reply

      “Interesting point that I was unaware of but that is not why players are kneeling or if it is, they are sure keeping it a secret.”