Sports and Politics: Race, Political Discourse, and Tweets

January 20, 2017 changed everything for this country. It changed norms. What was considered out-of-bounds was considered in-bounds. Going after individual citizens by the President is now standard operating procedure. Even when those citizens do something extremely positive or when those citizens exercise their First Amendment rights. The Commander-in-Chief has decided to further divide us as a nation and it’s not acceptable.

The people of this nation love going to their sporting events. We also have a country that is so tribal with their political views. However, we now live in world where sport and political lines are becoming a bit more blurred. The two cultures are colliding with the election of the current President.

The two worlds collided like the Titanic and the iceberg once Colin Kapernick decided to take a knee in protest to police violence in the black community.

Just a refresher course here. He was sitting down to start with, but after a discussion with Army vet and former Seattle Seahawk long-snapper, Nate Boyer, he was told that taking a knee would be more respectful.

“I expressed to him, maybe there’s a different way of demonstrating, where you are showing more respect for those who laid down their lives for what that flag and anthem stand for. I suggested kneeling, because people kneel to pray; we’ll kneel in front of a fallen brother’s grave.” explained Nate Boyer.

For Kapernick, that is where he lost the respect of many people around the country. Taking the advice of a war veteran was counted against Kapernick.

It’s also where he lost his ability to stay employed in the NFL. To say he wasn’t blackballed by many in the NFL would be na├»ve thinking.

In essence the court of public opinion told us who can be a patriot and who can not.

Take a look around the NFL, look at who are the current back up quarterbacks.

Here’s a list of some of the back up quarterbacks in the NFL: Garret Gilbert (who?), Matt Barkley (shudder), Joe Webb (who?), Stephen Morris (really?), Austin Davis (you’re kidding), and the list goes on.

Kapernick would be certainly better than ANY of those choices. Period.

I get why no NFL team wants Kap. It’s a PR situation that these teams are gutless about standing up to.

Enter our current President. He sees this issue as something that fires up his supporters. 45 goes on record saying that these players who take a knee in a silent protest should be fired. He also called NFL players “Sons of bitches.”

Right there he galvanized every NFL player. NFL players consider themselves a brotherhood and when you attack one player in that fraternity, you attack all.

The President said that he supports a citizens right to a peaceful protest.

No, he doesn’t.

There lies the issue. Evidently, any protest you don’t agree with should be shut down.

I guess Martin Luther King should have walked across a different bridge with that logic, people of color should have gone to a different school or college, and people of color should have just sat at a different counter in a restaurant.

There are many people who have served in the military whose foot didn’t hurt. The veterans of our military did not fight for this country so that the rest of us can decide who is a better American.

Taking a knee does not disrespect the flag. It raises it up, celebrates it, and it’s a race baiting comment to say otherwise.

We, as a country, should protest the way people of color are treated in this country. If you don’t believe that white privilege exists then you don’t understand our country.

If every player went into the locker room during the anthem I would not have a damn problem with it. That was the way it was back in the day. The college teams are in the locker room during the anthem. Nobody complains about that. If anybody does, they truly need to get a life.

The Philadelphia Eagles who are the current Super Bowl Champions, decided that they would not go to the White House to celebrate with the President.

Plenty of people had a problem with that.

Not me. I am not going somewhere where I am not respected. Nobody would.

If you do, you enable the behavior.

It’s not a requirement by any stretch of the imagination to go to the White House to celebrate a championship. Just like it’s not a requirement to stand for the National Anthem.

Fast forward to past NBA season. Politics and sports intersected once again.

The defending NBA Champion, Golden State Warriors, chose to not go to White House as well to celebrate their title. The President said the team was being uninvited to the White House.

The Warriors were not invited in the first place.

LeBron James was asked during the 2018 NBA Finals if he would go to the White House if the Cavaliers won the NBA Title. It was a quick response of no.

“No matter who wins this series, no one wants the invite anyways. It won’t be Golden State or Cleveland going.” James said.

Other players such as Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and Klay Thompson have also said similar things.

It is not being lost on these athletes that the President has taken stances that are anti-people of color. The other thing that is not lost on these athletes is that while the President is quick to take stances on people of color, he takes a few days to say anything about white supremacists in Charlottesville.

Remember when Laura Ingraham told LeBron and other NBA players who speak their minds to “shut up and dribble”?

Apparently, this woman believes that only people like her can speak out on issues happening in this great country. Let me just say that if people listen to gaslighting that comes out of Ingraham’s mouth then we are all in trouble.

Recently, LeBron James opened a school for kids in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. Third and fourth graders just started there in the last week. It’s a non-charter school for at-risk youth in Akron. The kids will receive free uniforms, free meals, and free transportation. There will also be connections for parents to community programs.

He’s not going to shut and dribble and that should be applauded.

James is certainly putting his incredible wealth into action. LeBron has been on many network shows talking about this new school and what it means to his childhood community. LeBron James is trying to uplift his community.

Then there is the other side.

President Tweeter decided he needed to further desecrate the office of the Presidency by insinuating that LeBron James is dumb.

The President’s Tweet: “LeBron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made LeBron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!”

What did the President have to do about his “university”? Oh, yeah, settle a multi-million dollar lawsuit about the legitimacy of said school. The lawsuit said that the unaccredited university misrepresented Trumps personal involvement mischaracterized itself as an elite school.

Wow. You mean this guy misrepresented himself? Classy.

This President needs to worry about bigger things than what athletes are saying. The division that he is causing is doing so much harm to the country that it could take generations to get back. If ever.

45 needs to put the phone down and stay off of Twitter, but who are we kidding? 12 year old’s like drama.

In the end, athletes have every right to speak out whenever they feel like it. Just like everybody else does at anytime.


Twitter: @pigskinopinion