Whilst the tragedy struck Puerto Rico this weekend, President Donald Trump was too busy shining his 160 character spotlight on NFL players who had decided to take a knee through the national anthem to protest injustice, bigotry, and police brutality inside U.S.
“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!’” stated the president at a rally in Alabama. The owners who fired players, Trump said, would quickly be being among the most popular men in America.
The outrage was rapid. Sports & entertainment stars were quick to express their anger and label Trump with their disgust. Soon, the remarks were spread like wildfire and have become a talking point worldwide.
Then came Sunday. Arguably the most prolific day of protest in the NFL history. Instead of Colin Kaepernick taking a knee, 19 teams had about 200 players who participated in protests of some sort; many took a knee or had a seat through or outright not showing up during the display of national anthem.
And they weren’t alone: The protesting players were joined by owners, some of whom even made a decision to go as a result of the field to lock arms making use of their players being a form of solidarity. Majority of the teams and their directors have blasted Trump’s words during the Alabama rally in official press statements and tweeted infographics — all portraying the same opinion of how much they disagree with Trump’s disruptive tone of rhetoric.
It’s all fine and well, except for one thing.
Most NFL owners and general managers are not exactly your average Americans. The popular demands on them and their executives to speak out against Trump seem strange. But here’s the truth: What Trump said about NFL players who took a knee during the national anthem was hardly different from what NFL owners have not only said, but actually implemented to Kaepernick.
And the NFL executives are not rushing to hide their true feelings, though only while they enjoy the comfort of total anonymity.
Majority of executives in NFL front offices tend to agree with a consensus that Kaepernick “genuinely hated for his actions” — kneeling for that national anthem. “He doesn’t have respect for our country. F*ck that guy.”
This was the feeling about a year ago, yet since then the anger towards him have not settled down as not a single team has even considered Kaepernick, not even to use him as a reserve.
That’s why what happened yesterday was perplexing. Some of the owners showing their solidarity with the players are donors to Trump’s inaugural party.
The same owners of teams who were releasing statements and sharing the stage in protest of Trump as the same owners who are shunning Kaepernick. It’s almost as if it’s all just a one big act for us, the public.
Never mind that Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, both whom are arguably the best quarterbacks in NFL, say Kaepernick needs to be given a chance. Never mind that we have teams that are visibly struggling for quarterback talent. Before Trump stated his position during the weekend rally, those teams had already blocked Kaepernick out of any possible opportunity for a return.
And are now showing the true face of hypocrisy in front of the nation that’s grieving at the state of today’s politics.
What the NFL players showed this Sunday was a genuine display of solidarity. But what nearly all of those team owners and general managers did was pure marketing, hot air, an act.
It is as if those owners, for once, happen to be on the same side as the common folk. Yet we were duped once again, without us ever paying any attention, all while Kaepernick remains without a chance to vindicate himself.