Trump’s Message Forwarded: Black NFL Players Should Shut Up and be Grateful

There will always be persons who object to why, where and how protests are conducted. If everyone agreed, there probably would be no need for the protest! I, myself, oppose protesters shouting down speakers. Likewise, I am certain many are angry and offended by NFL players kneeling during the national anthem. It should be noted however, that kneeling at all other times---before, during and after the game--- is a sign of prayer, respect and concern. As an outgrowth of the president’s tirade, I have received a forwarded message from a dear friend which basically says: Successful black athletes should shut up and be grateful. They are lucky to have come this far as compared to their black friends who may be working at low-level jobs or risking their lives in Afghanistan.

The black athletes are not protesting for themselves. Rather they are protesting for those friends who are working at low-level jobs and serving in the armed forces. They aren’t seeking benefits for themselves; they are using their fame and notoriety to stop what they perceive to be wrongs committed against other African-Americans. White celebrities do it all the time on a variety of causes. Anyone is free to disagree or criticize what the players are doing, but an unsigned “open letter to NFL players” sent to me seems to go a step too far:

“***Academics were a struggle for you and your grades were mediocre at best. The only thing that made you stand out is you weighed 225 lbs and could run 40 yards in 4.2 seconds while carrying a football.*****Although we love to watch you play, we care little about your opinions until you offend us. You have the absolute right to express yourselves, but we have the absolute right to boycott you. We have tolerated your drug use and DUIs, your domestic violence, and your vulgar displays of wealth. We should be ashamed for putting our admiration of your physical skills before what is morally right***

I suspect that Justice Thomas would define this letter as “a high-tech lynching” and with good reason. Kapernick (the person who started it all) took a knee on Sept. 2, 2016 more than a year ago. Ironically, despite the absurd claim that he is mocking the military, his action was prompted and encouraged by a former Seattle Seahawks player Nate Boyer, who served as a Green Beret in U.S. military actions in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Now a year later, while people are dying in Puerto Rico, North Korea is threatening nuclear war and millions of Americans are facing the loss of health care, our president decides to condemn the protest either to distract or inflame the public. The “open letter” suggests that the latter purpose has succeeded.

To disagree with protesters is as much of a right as the protest itself. But Donald Trump wants those with whom he disagrees (NFL players) or those who criticize him (sportscasters) to be fired. Mr. Trump---you are President of the United States not host of the Apprentice any more.

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