Trump’s comments spark the NFL to join in the protest against inequality and police brutality going on all around the country.
By Emmanuel Cordova, Staff Writer
There has been significant growth in the amount of NFL players, teams, and owners that are joining in protest against Trump’s divisive words. Now after Vice President Mike Pence left the Colt’s game due to the players protest, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is changing his view on how his team should be handling the silent protest.
At the rally, Trump said, “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. He is fired. He’s fired!’” Trump was in Alabama campaigning for Luther Strange who lost the Republican Senate primary.
Pence followed a command by Trump to leave a Colts’ game on Sunday of week five if the players kneeled during the anthem.
The president was quick to comment on Pence’s exit via Twitter saying, “I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him.”
More than half of the NFL teams joined in protest the following Sunday by kneeling, sitting, or locking arms with teammates during the national anthem. Some teams like the Seattle Seahawks, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Tennessee Titans stayed in the locker room during the anthem. The Dolphins’, Lions’, Eagles’, Jets’, and Chargers’ team owners also participated in the protest by locking arms with their players.
In week three of Monday Night Football, the entire Cowboys team, including owner Jerry Jones, locked arms and knelt during the national anthem as some in the crowd booed.
Jones has since switched sides on the issue claiming, “If there’s anything that is disrespectful to the flag, then we will not play.”
This warning to his players was shut down by the NFL Players Association in a response Monday. The association along with Commissioner Roger Goodell said they will respect the constitutional rights of the players.
Colin Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback, started this controversial protest last season and has been dramatically supported by players all around the league and in the NBA as well.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers commented, “On this team, we’re going to keep choosing love over hate, unity over division, and that’s what it was to us.”
“…He’s made the ultimate sacrifice and I respect that whole-heartedly,” Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton said of Kaepernick, “… A person that does have the talent to play, a person that should be in this league, but I feel as if he’s not getting his just due because of his views.”
Newton brings up a good point—there are some NFL teams that have starting and backup quarterbacks that are not as talented as Kaepernick. Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill injured his knee before that start of the 2017-18 season and the team was in need of a new starting quarterback.
Kaepernick is one of the top free agents, but the Dolphins decided to call Jay Cutler instead. Cutler’s quarterback rating last season was 23.2 and Kaepernick’s was 49.5, which makes politics the only reason they would choose Cutler over Kap.
Trump’s words turned a kneeling issue with a handful of players into a much broader issue of the NFL standing united against his derisive speech.