SOMERSET, N.J. — As President Trump called for NFL owners to suspend or fire players who protested the national anthem, players and coaches answered defiantly Sunday morning, with most members of the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars either standing with their arms locked in solidarity or taking a knee on the field.
I have to interject here. IMO, the author of this Washington Post news article is misrepresenting what the players being discussed are doing. They are not protesting the National Anthem. To say that they are protesting a song is trivializing the whole movement and making them look like children having a temper tantrum. To my (and other's) way of thinking, the players are not protesting the anthem, they are protesting during the anthem. (While on the subject of children having temper tantrums, what about what happened with Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry and his team? Since, during an interview, Stephen Curry didn't act enthusiastic about going to the White House, the president decided to punish the team by stating "Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!" in a tweet! How's that for childish temper tantrums?)
Ravens Coach John Harbaugh joined his players, locking arms, and Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, a Pakistani American billionaire and businessman, joined his players before the game's kickoff at 9:30 a.m. in London's Wembley Stadium. Ravens Hall of Famer Ray Lewis also took a knee during the anthem.
“If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast,” Trump wrote. “Fire or suspend!”
“NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN,” he continued in a second tweet. “Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back U.S.”
The tweets continue a three-day crusade by the president to pressure the league to fire players who have taken a knee to protest police violence against minorities. Trump has poured fuel on the flame of a simmering culture war and has further pushed sports deep into the political arena.
Among players, coaches and team owners, the public reaction has been sharply negative of his comments.
Even a close friend, Patriots CEO and Chairman Robert Kraft, who donated $1 million to Trump's inauguration, issued a sharply worded statement Sunday morning that condemned his comments and supported the right of players to peacefully protest “in a manner that they feel is most impactful.”
“I am deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the President on Friday,” Kraft said. “I am proud to be associated with so many players who make such tremendous contributions in positively impacting our communities.
“Their efforts, both on and off the field, help bring people together and make our community stronger,” he added. “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,” Kraft continued. “Our players are intelligent, thoughtful and care deeply about our community and I support their right to peacefully affect social change and raise awareness in a manner that they feel is most impactful.”
Washington Post - September 24, 2017
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