by Taikein Cooper
Friday night, I was troubled by the words of Donald J. Trump. While that is not a novelty, this time was different. It was not the most vile or despicable statement from him by far, but this speech annoyed me a great deal–even for Donald Trump. During a campaign rally for a primary in Alabama, Trump addressed players of the National Football League (NFL) who protest domestic terrorism at the hands of law enforcement by taking a knee during the National Anthem.
Trump rhetorically asked, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b**** off the field right now? He is fired. He’s fired!” On Friday, he called the mother of every NFL player who has the audacity to peacefully protest a nationwide epidemic by the derogatory term for a female dog. I am embarrassed, angry, and fed up with his daily ignorance and constant twitter tirades. This is not locker room talk. This is white male privilege rearing its ugly head from behind the presidential platform–again.
Protesting peacefully is a right guaranteed by the First Amendment. The players’ refusal to traditionally participate in the National Anthem is not disrespecting the country. The actions of these citizens honor the principles that truly do make America Great: Freedom of Assembly, Petition, Press, Religion and Speech.
Furthermore, Trump broke the law when he encouraged owners to fire players: according to Title 18, Part 1, Chapter 11 § 227 of the U.S. Code, wrongfully influencing a private entity’s employment decisions by a Member of Congress or an officer or employee of the legislative or executive branch [is illegal]. This may become an article of impeachment.
Let’s not forget that Trump praised white supremacists in Charlottesville by referring to them as “very fine people,” but the players pleading for justice and equity are “sons of bitches.” Donald Trump’s previous approval of sexual assault in a conversation with Billy Bush in 2005 was quickly and wrongfully dismissed as “locker room” banter. We cannot trivialize Donald Trump’s comments as frivolous or a joke. Comments like this are not only wrong. They are dangerous. Trump’s sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity are a risk to our public safety and humanity. He must be held accountable. Kneeling one day cannot be the end. It must be the catalyst to promote monumental change in America.