Opinion: Are NFL Teams Hypocritical in Their Response to Trump?
By Brandon Simmons
Friday, President Donald Trump managed to start a Twitter war with the NFL, calling for players to be cut from the team if they kneeled during the national anthem. He was referring to the actions started by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick last season, to protest racial injustice in the country. What ensued was one of the biggest clap backs from the league that has ever happened in NFL history. Responses from Roger Goodell to various owners, as well as players, have flooded social media timelines to denounce his statements, which included referring to the players as son of a bitches. It was an amazing outpour from these owners and NFL family, especially since quite a few of them put him in office and took similar positions.
There are quite a few owners that have donated to the Donald Trump cause which makes this sentiment kind of weird. In an article posted on SB Nation in April, NFL owners Robert Kraft (New England Patriots), Bob McNair (Houston Texans), Dan Snyder (Washington Redskins), Shad Kahn (Jacksonsville Jaguars), Woody Johnson (New York Jets) and Stan Kroenke (Los Angeles Rams). Each of these guys have been named as donors who have contributed $1 million dollars to his campaign. Kraft released a statement talking about the “disappointment” he had in the president’s comments, despite voicing his support for him in the past. McNair also referred to the comments as “divisive” and “counterproductive”.
The players and former coaches have joined in on the fun. Former NFL head coach Rex Ryan, who is a known Trump supporter, was “appalled” that Trump would call the players “SOBs”. A boisterous loud mouth was shocked that another boisterous loud mouth would say something ridiculous. What are the odds? Let’s take it to the player level. Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy once said that Kaepernick was not worth the distraction. Think about that then think what you have seen the pregame shows cover this entire weekend.
There is a huge irony to this current ordeal right now. The man who started the protesting the anthem does not even have a job in the NFL because of it. Teams have been dodging signing Kaepernick with every excuse in the book. Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Biscotti asked fans a meet and greet their opinion on whether to sign him. People referred to the stance he took as divisive and somehow it has brought every team together to stand up for each other. Where was this unity when Kaepernick took a stand the first time? Only a handful of people came to the defense of Kaepernick when he was taking shots from every player, coach, owner, fan, analyst or whatever that thought they had to swing their shriveled up patriotic nuts around. This is the response that should have been there from the beginning and not when somebody is stepping on your financial toes. Trump has publicly claimed to be the reason that Kaepernick is not signed and no general manager or vice president of football operations gave it any thought.
Yes, this is a great move by a lot of the NFL teams to mimic Kaepernick when you feel your “community” is being disrespected; but if you want to make a real statement, follow what Kaepernick is continuing to do. Get involved in the communities of some of these players and set up instructional/educational camps. They don’t have to be just football; incorporate some learning into them so there could be better coaches, general managers, league officials, etc. Show that real unity matters off the field as much is it does on the field.
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