A year ago, Colin Kaepernick got down on one knee during the national anthem to protest racial injustice. The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback wanted to draw attention to the proliferation of police shootings of black men. Now, kneeling has become an emblem of solidarity for athletes and non-athletes alike.
It has reawakened the debate over free speech, who should be allowed to publicly engage in it, and where. Donald Trump has likened the act to flag burning, called players who don’t stand during the anthem unpatriotic. He even tweeted his criticism of the players—and Kaepernick in particular—over 2 dozen times—all the while ignoring hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
This man, the leader of the free world, uses his right to free speech almost hourly on Twitter. But I guess free speech only applies if it’s something Trump wants to hear. His mode of operation has always been to silence the voices of anyone who would dare to have an opinion that differs from him. Lest we forget, he is a former reality TV star whose popular tagline was “You’re fired!”
Just fire people and they will go away. But this is not television.
Now, as president, he’s on a mission to get rid of everything and everyone who doesn’t fit into his idea of making “America Great Again.” Black football players, politically active entertainers, Democrats, Mexicans must go! So instead of leading this country, he chooses instead to pick fights, using Twitter as his bully pulpit.
But it’s much too late for Trump to take this country back to 1950. People are speaking out now more than ever—young people, black people, gay people, liberals and even some people whom you’d think would never oppose his.
Scrolling down the list of articles on TheGrio.com, I found an impressive number of people—some unlikely folks—who support what Kaepernick did. While his protest was against abusive police, it has morphed into a national discussion on the First Amendment.
Some of the headlines included:
“97-Year Old Vet (who is white) Takes a Knee in Solidarity With Protests”
“Chicago Cops (who are black) Reprimanded for Kneeling With Activists”
“Jesse Williams Says National Anthem is a Scam”
“Fox News Calls NFL Anthem Kneelers ‘Disgusting’”
In an act of defiance, much like Congressman Emanuel Cleaver putting on a hoodie to protest the killing of unarmed black teen Trevon Martin by a white man, Congresswoman Sheila Lee Jackson kneeled on the Congressional floor.
Football players aren’t the only ones to speak out against Trump’s recent derogatory comments aimed at black athletes. Trump’s reference to black athletes as “sons of b****es” and subsequent withdrawing of a White House invitation to the Golden State Warrior’s Stephen Curry reignited the verbal flames.
Truth be told, Curry was only uninvited after he himself turned town Trump’s invitation. Pro basketball players, Cleveland Cavaliers’ Lebron James, retired Lakers star Kobe Bryant and retired Chicago Bulls great Michael Jordan all expressed their opposition to Trump’s remarks via Twitter.
Bryant tweeted: “A #POTUS whose name alone creates division and anger. Whose words inspire dissension and hatred can’t possibly “Make America Great Again.”
As the FBI collects more evidence of possible collusion between Trump and Russia to undermine the 2016 election, it’s clear that Trump is the most unpatriotic one of all. For the love of money, he’d commit treason; he’d sell out America in a heartbeat. How un-American is that?