Protests Spread: Athletes From Every Major League Speaking Out Against Trump


Protests Spread: Athletes From Every Major League Speaking Out Against Trump

In the past week, it’s begun to look as if the entire sporting community has turned on President Trump. From Lebron James calling him a “bum” on Twitter to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones kneeling with entire team before their game in Arizona, the optics are not good for the Commander and Chief.

Even though Jones player his move off a show of unity, it’s clear there were others who saw it as more than that. Following the game, Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant  told the press that it was “the true definition of unity,” then adding “Trump can’t divide this.”

A similar narrative is beginning to play out across every major league in North America. What started as a protest of racism in America has turned into a show of force against the President’s attempts to quell dissent. On September 24, it was announced that roughly 200 players had already joined in protests across the NFL, and it’s spreading.
One day earlier, Bruce Maxwell of the Oakland A’s became the first major league baseball player to take a knee during the national anthem. Now, with the NBA and NHL season just around the corner,  more protests are surely in store.
Joel Ward of the San Jose Sharks, currently one of the National Hockey League’s few black players, told The Mercury News that he would not rule out kneeling during the anthem. He told reporters:

“I’ve experienced a lot of racism myself in hockey and on a day-to-day occurrence. I haven’t really sat down to think about it too much yet, but I definitely wouldn’t say no to it…

I’ve experienced racism as a kid, as an adult. I think I’ll always experience it…I’ve been singled out at different events. I’ve been pulled over. I’ve dealt with racism right to my face. It’s just been part of life that you always have to deal with, so when people get into Kaepernick and some of these other guys, saying that they’re disrespecting the flag, it’s not about just that.

It’s about creating awareness about what people, like myself, go through on a day-to-day basis, whether it’s going to the mall or whatever… The topic of race is always the elephant in the room. For those guys to use their platform on that stage is uplifting. The country as whole has got to rally behind it.”
With the NBA, the most liberal league in the country, about to start their season, it’s clear that things will only get worse for President Trump. Players and management were already incredibly outspoken with their criticisms during Media Day. Gregg Popovich, coach of the San Antonio Spurs, went on another anti-Trump rant, asking when “morality and decency” would kick in for the President’s supporters.

“Race is the elephant in the room and we all understand that,” said Ppovich. “Unless it is talked about constantly, it’s not going to get better. . . . ‘Oh, that again. They pulled the race card again. Why do we have to talk about that?’ Well, because it’s uncomfortable. They have our full support.”

Popovich also told reporters [via ESPN]:

“The childishness and the gratuitous fear-mongering and race-baiting has been so consistent that it’s almost expected… Our country is an embarrassment in the world. This is an individual who actually thought that when people held arms during the games that they were doing it to honor the flag. That’s delusional. Absolutely delusional. But it’s what we have to live with…

So you got a choice: We can continue to bounce our heads off the wall with his conduct, or we can decide that the institutions of our country are more important, that people are more important, that the decent America that we all thought we had and we want is more important, and get down to the business at the grassroots level and do what we have to do.”

Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers also threw in his two cents as well:

“I don’t think players want to protest. I think the reason they’re protesting is because they think there’s injustice and there’s prejudice and there’s bigotry — there’s a lot of things. If Donald Trump did his job, players would not be kneeling.”

Last week, the Golden State Warriors made headlines after choosing to skip their White House, and now the Pittsburgh Penguins are being criticized for accepting the President’s invitation. Former NHL player Georges Laraque told the Canadian press: “I know hockey’s more conservative than other sports, but this time it’s just wrong… It’s an embarrassment that they’re going.”

It seems the more the President pushes back against the protests, the worse public perception of him has become.