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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.