UNITED STATES—Oh, President Donald Trump, why, oh why can you just focus on trying to “Make America Great Again” as you claim, instead of causing further friction and divide in the country. I mean who would have ever expected a tweet between Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry would create so much uproar. It has been a tradition for as long as I can recall that the reigning NBA champions visit the White House. It was a bit of a celebration, but Trump rescinded the offer for the Warriors to pay a visit to the White House, after hearing Curry note the team’s reluctance to visit the POTUS.
Well, that did not bode well with Trump, who announced: “Going to the White House is a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore the invitation is withdrawn.” That led to a bevy of backlash from the public and celebrities alike who were not too please with Trump’s behavior. Basketball legend LeBron James took to social media responding to Trump’s decision by stating, “U bum Stephen Curry said he ain’t going! So therefore ain’t no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!”
However, Mr. Trump was not done when he decided to go after the entire NFL organization on Friday by telling NFL owners to fire those “son of a bitch” players who refuse to stand during the National Anthem. Wow, those are indeed some fighting words Mr. President and I’m not certain if you really want to go after the NFL and its countless players. This is an organization that has plenty of power and if you toss major shade at the players and their owners for allowing them the right to express themselves without interruption. Of course, many would argue this is a direct result of former SF 49ers player Colin Kaepernick deciding to not stand during the national anthem in a stance of solidarity against brining attention to the issue of police brutality in America. While I’m not going to tackle the issue of police brutality here, I have another column planned to discuss that issue America, which without a doubt we have to discuss.
Trump’s announcement led to something that is rarely seen in the world of sports, especially football: politics. It has been something that I would argue while not off the table, just never seemed to be put into the spotlight until now. So some were eager to see how things would play out during NFL Sunday Football? Well, it’s an indicator that Trump has made more enemies than allies. Why? Players from the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars kneeled during the presentation of the National Anthem. The Pittsburgh Steelers announced the team will remain in the locker room during the National Anthem.
Ravens Owner Steve Bisciotti indicated in a statement: “We recognize our players’ influence. We respect their demonstration and support them 100 percent. All voices need to be heard. That’s democracy in its highest form.” Some players from the Miami Dolphins were seen where T-shirts with the phrase: “IMWITHKAP.” A note indicating they were standing by player Colin Kaepernick. If you watched any football on Sunday, the solidarity amongst players was grand and to see the owners stand in unity with their players was a clear sign that freedom of speech would not be ignored.
So it brings a big question into play? Should players be fined or suspended for not participating in the National Anthem. My answer to that question is NO; however, at the same time I do waver that those not participating are showing a sign of disrespect to the country, however, everyone is entitled to their own rights. That is why we have the Constitution of the United States of America. We have the right to Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Press and Freedom to Assemble. I’m the advocate that religion should NOT be involved in sports events in any sort of fashion, yet, and with so many wondering rather America is a country aimed at promoting equality and diversity amongst all its citizens has been up for debate for centuries, and will likely continue when you have incidents like the one that transpired in Charlottesville.
While plenty of the focus right now is on Trump vs. the NFL, my concern is there are so much more important issues transpiring in our country right now, yet this is the issue that is the forefront of the conversation. Like what the hell? We’ve just encountered two major hurricanes that have devastated parts of Texas and Florida, and this is the cooler room conversation that has overtaken the country? Making the situation worse is the fact that Hurricane Maria just ravished Puerto Rico and has the potential to get very close to the east coast of the United States.
There is so much going on in this country right now that we need to focus on. Issues pertaining to our health care system, immigration, discrimination, racism, taxes, do I need to keep going? Mr. President please focus, the constant picking of fights is just sickening to endure as an American. It’s fascinating, but at the same time also frightening to see this country have so much division right now. This country right now doesn’t need any additional division, we need unification!