The Dallas Cowboys organization joins the protests against President Donald Trump on Monday as all the players, staff members and owner Jerry Jones knelt before the national anthem. There were boos from the crowd before both teams stood and linked arms on the sidelines.
Trump sparked things up when he said Friday that any NFL player who kneels during the national anthem should be either suspended or fired. That will not happen since everybody has the right to a peaceful protest, but you should know that Dallas’ Jerry Jones was one of seven NFL owners who donated to Trump’s inauguration.
Players and teams protested in various ways such as kneeling, linking arms or staying in the locker room. Even basketball players are opposing the incumbent president with LeBron James leading the way and praising those players who protested against Trump. LeBron accused him of “using sports to try and divide us.”
James added: “The people run this country. I’m not going to let one individual, no matter their power, ever use sport as a platform to divide us. Sport is so amazing, what it can do for everyone. No matter the shape, size, weight, ethnicity, religion or whatever – people find teams, players and colors because of sport. It brings people together like none other.”
James, currently a Cleveland Cavaliers player and a future Hall of Famer, a three-time NBA champion, supported Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election. Although a favorite, Clinton surprisingly lost and shocked the world.
— UNINTERRUPTED (@uninterrupted) September 23, 2017
Meanwhile, quarterback Colin Kaepernick is the one who started to kneel during national anthem last year. However, his protest was not so much against Trump as it was for the equality between African Americans and Caucasians. Trump was at a Republican rally in Alabama when he used foul words to describe those who knelt during the anthem. He added that every player who protested should be sacked by team owners.
The protest spread around the league like wildfire and more than 20 players and staff members from the Baltimore Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars either linked arms or knelt before the match played in London. They showed their dissatisfaction in front of the European fans. This was what NFL weekend looked like, with three teams staying in locker rooms or tunnels during the anthem.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell sided with the players, declaring Trump’s comments “demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.” Trump stated that none of his comments have anything to do with race, but they are about “respect for our country, flag, and national anthem.”
There were some interesting reactions from other sportspeople, as well. For example, Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell also knelt before a game saying that it was “for the people that don’t have a voice.” Interesting detail – his father is in the US military. Also, singer Rico Lavelle knelt after performing the national anthem at an NFL game in Detroit. In the meantime, NASCAR team owners have a different opinion about protests against anthem, and they have threatened to sack every employee who dares to do so.
Ice hockey’s Pittsburgh Penguins have decided to go to the White House and mark their championship victory. American writer Warner Todd Huston told BBC Radio 5 that live public opinion was “decidedly split.” He added: “What he [Trump] said was indelicate, certainly, but we all know that that’s Trump being Trump.”
“We have the conservative side, Republicans who think all the protests are an anti-American protest, whereas people on the left feel it is just a protest against endemic racism in the country. It’s definitely been divisive. There are two camps and almost no-one in between,” explained the writer who works for the right-wing publication Breitbart.