Friday President Donald Trump visited Huntsville, AL to give a speech. The speech closely resembles the rallies Trump held during his campaign and he used it to campaign for Luther Strange as Senator.
During the speech, Trump made some comments about the ongoing anthem protest that has taken place through out the NFL. Trump called the protesters “son of bitches” and asked that the owners fire any players who “disrespects” our flag.
This prompted widespread outrage and protest from players, owners, CEOs, supporters of the protest and supporters of American’s first amendment right a like Sunday and Monday.
A wave of defiance grows nationwide after more than 200 NFL players kneel or lock arms in protest. pic.twitter.com/mJ47hdxXyl
— AJ+ (@ajplus) September 26, 2017
“I think its a good thing that [the protesters, players, owners, etc] did [protest] to prove a point that the president is trying to take the first amendment away from certain people and I don’t think it should be tolerated,” sophomore biology student Kiersten Ellis said. “I think its a good thing to do that to make a point that they’re not going to give into him.”
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) September 26, 2017
Many people called the president’s words divisive.
— UNINTERRUPTED (@uninterrupted) September 23, 2017
The growing spike in protest did cause backlash from Trump, his base and critics of the protest.
— M A Nöthem (@mikandynothem) September 26, 2017
— Chicago’s Finest (@ChicagosFines19) September 26, 2017
Trump took to Twitter to ask fans to avoid games if they were offended.
If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
Trump Tuesday also took to Twitter to ask the league to put in place a rule against players kneeling for the anthem.
The NFL has all sorts of rules and regulations. The only way out for them is to set a rule that you can’t kneel during our National Anthem!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 26, 2017
Trump made a point to say the anthem protest wasn’t about race but about respecting our flag.
The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2017
Although the president’s recent comment caused a spike in the protest and has drawn tremendous attention to the conversation of racial injustices, some people see the protest as veering off track such as sophomore international studies major David Pfaehler.
“Originally when Colin Kaepernick started to kneel during the national anthem, it had a serious reasoning behind it,” Pfaehler said. “It was to protest obviously police brutality against young black men and against communities of color in general. Now instead of uniting behind a constructive movement and Black Lives Matter it has now taken turn to satisfy egos. NFL owners only joined the protest when they thought their profits were going to be hurt or their players, who make them so much money, were completely against [the presidents comments].”
Director of the African-American Studies Program at Ole Miss, Dr. Charles Ross has some concerns with the turn the protest is taking too.
“I’m a little concerned that Colin Kaepernick has not gotten the opportunity to get a job,” Ross said. “He was the first one to start the protest last year, now these owners have come out suites. They’re on the field locking arms with players and its taken on a whole different kind of identity. Its like this unity protest and its not necessarily focused on police brutality.”
“[owners and CEOs joining the protest] is a relatively positive thing but I don’t think it can be totally positive because the individual that facilitated all this basically came out and spoke against police brutality and in essence racial inequality and racism in America,” Ross said. “He is now himself a victim of his own kind of willingness to take on this issue because he still doesn’t have a job.”
“I’m hoping that where it goes is that Kaepernick is given an opportunity to play football again, which i think is a real disservice,” Ross said. “In a lot of ways it just validates every thing he’s been standing for because the fact of the matter is that the racism of these white owners is perpetuated in the fact they’re not giving him a job. Yet they’re down on the field. They now embrace what he was doing, yet they’re still not giving him a job, so there is this other layer of racism that is being placed on the racism that he was talking about.”