Athletes, owners, and fans stood up for those who took a knee.
While a humanitarian crisis of biblical proportions threatens Puerto Rico, an unincorporated American territory, President Donald Trump spent the weekend waging a petty two-front war against the NFL and NBA.
It began Friday afternoon when Steph Curry of the 2016-17 NBA champion Golden State Warriors said he would not accept an invitation to the White House. “By acting and not going, hopefully that will inspire some change when it comes to what we tolerate in this country, what is accepted, and what we turn a blind eye toward,” he told ESPN.
The next morning, Trump disinvited Curry from the White House.
Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team.Stephen Curry is hesitating,therefore invitation is withdrawn!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017\n
LeBron James jumped into the fray, pointing out Trump’s pettiness.
U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain't going! So therefore ain't no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 23, 2017\n
Meanwhile, on Saturday morning, NFL players began to react to a fiery speech Trump made to supporters at a political rally in Huntsville, Alabama, the night before.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired! He’s fired!’” Trump said.
Colin Kaepernick’s mother gleefully accepted Trump’s words as a compliment.
Guess that makes me a proud bitch!— Teresa Kaepernick (@B4IleaveU) September 23, 2017\n
Others noticed a stark contrast between Trump’s attitude toward white supremacists and black athletes.
Trump on white supremacist rally marchers: "Very fine people"— Randy Prine (@randyprine) September 23, 2017\n
Trump on NFL anthem protesters: "Son of a bitch"
Trump then called NFL players “privileged,” neglecting the years of blood, sweat, and hard work they endure to reach the professional level.
If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL,or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017\n
...our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU'RE FIRED. Find something else to do!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017\n
To Trump, the NFL Players are mere property and he is calling out to their “owners” to discipline them for speaking. This sounds familiar.— deray mckesson (@deray) September 24, 2017\n
One by one, NFL management and owners spoke out against Trump’s remarks, including league commissioner Roger Goodell. “Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities,” he said in a statement. Numerous owners — many of which are Trump supporters — broke ranks by speaking out as well.
“We believe in the tenets of the national anthem, which is a pillar of this country; just as freedom of speech is another pillar and a constitutional right,” Los Angeles Rams owner Sam Kroenke said in a statement. “We will continue to support our players’ freedom to peacefully express themselves and the meaningful efforts they make to bring out positive change in our country.” New England Patriots owner and Trump friend, Bob Kraft, also spoke out against the president saying he was “deeply disappointed.”
On game day Sunday, players around the NFL protested Trump’s divisive rhetoric by taking a knee.
The most impassioned words of the day came from Miami Dolphins safety Michael Thomas.
Instead of leading the Nation, Trump is out there talking nonsense about NFL players. pic.twitter.com/mbWOwoHweD— RogelioGarcia Lawyer (@LawyerRogelio) September 25, 2017\n
Sunday night, just miles from the White House in a game versus Washington, nearly every player on the Oakland Raiders sat during the national anthem.
On Monday, Trump turned to NASCAR to thank them for their “patriotism.” But one of the sport’s brightest stars wasn’t feeling it.
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. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2017\n
All Americans R granted rights 2 peaceful protests— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) September 25, 2017\n
Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable-JFK