I genuinely do not know how the numbers break down, percentage-wise, but it sure as hell feels like Donald Trump has finally met his match in attacking both the NFL and the NBA this weekend (and MLB has now given him a reason to attack that sport, so it’s only a matter of time). I mean, I have a lot of problems with the NFL — domestic violence, concussions, Tom Brady — and Roger Goodell trails only Donald Trump as the second worst person in the United States, but I haven’t been able to give it up, try as I may. And in the South? Where a large part of Trump’s base resides? Football is a way of life. I mean, you guys have seen Friday Night Lights, right? It’s goddamn religion.
On Friday, Trump called out Colin Kaepernick. He called him a “son of a bitch” for expressing his freedom of speech. Here’s Colin Kaepernick’s mom (who, by the way, is a lily fucking white Christian woman):
Guess that makes me a proud bitch!— Teresa Kaepernick (@B4IleaveU) September 23, 2017
I may be completely wrong, but it feels like something broke. Like, that was a “moment.” Donald Trump had gone too far, and instead of backing down, Trump — as he does — dug in his heels. He disinvited the NBA’s Stephen Curry from the White House after Stephen Curry had already said he wouldn’t go to the White House (nor will any of the Champion Golden State Warriors). That compelled many NBA players to speak out, including the most popular NBA player (and perhaps, most popular player in sports, period):
U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain't going! So therefore ain't no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 23, 2017
A #POTUS whose name alone creates division and anger. Whose words inspire dissension and hatred can't possibly "Make America Great Again"— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) September 23, 2017
(And here’s Obama’s White House photographer trolling Trump again:)
Magic fucking Johnson spoke up:
I support the NBA World Champion Golden State Warriors, their owners, players and fans.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) September 23, 2017
And the NBA is not a problematic sport, like the NFL. Its popularity is growing again.
(Not for nothing, but the University of North Carolina also announced it wouldn’t be going to the White House yesterday, either, saying they couldn’t find a date that worked, i.e., they’re busy washing their hair.)
And suddenly, Trump has an enemy in both the NFL and the NBA, at least with the players.
And then MLB got involved. This was a hell of a moment:
A's catcher Bruce Maxwell becomes the first MLB player to kneel for the national anthem. pic.twitter.com/oFnOdpY2tX— SI MLB (@si_mlb) September 24, 2017
He went to Sparkman HS. 20 min drive from Huntsville, where Trump said: "I understand the people of Alabama. I feel like I’m from Alabama." https://t.co/vpiYRKodKb— Mitch Goldich (@mitchgoldich) September 24, 2017
And the A’s backed him:
Mostly, the back and forth has been at the player level in all three sports. I’m sure that Donald Trump thought if he limited his attacks to black players, he could stoke his base without alienating them. But I dunno. Trump has now found himself at odds with NFL’s Voldemort, Roger Goodell, who released a fairly weak statement, but one in opposition to Trump, all the same:
Roger Goodell statement on Donald Trump's comments. pic.twitter.com/8RNsOe8trr— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) September 23, 2017
Trump fired back.
Roger Goodell of NFL just put out a statement trying to justify the total disrespect certain players show to our country.Tell them to stand!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
Jesus Christ now I like Goodell. https://t.co/cgDSbR5fM2— David Stassen (@davidstassen) September 23, 2017
I mean, I wouldn’t go that far.
And the NFL league owners — so far — have backed the players, too. The Packers, Colts, Bills, Seahawks, Falcons, among others, have put out statements, the most forceful one, so far, from the Dolphins:
Statement from Miami Dolphins Owner and Founder of Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) Stephen Ross. pic.twitter.com/6W3mXwJO6M— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) September 23, 2017
Even Trump buddy Robert Kraft has taken sides, and his side is the players:
But then again:
The fact that Putin still has Bob Kraft's Super Bowl ring is my favorite sub-plot— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) September 24, 2017
I am not sure where this leaves us, but today’s gonna be a big day in the NFL. This is going to happen on Sunday Night Football in D.C.:
I have felt pretty guilty about watching it lately, but today, I’m going to do so proudly and in support of those players who choose to take a stand against Donald Trump, bigotry, and for freedom of speech.
…NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back U.S.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
I won’t be alone. Ed fucking Asner will be kneeling with the rest of us:
I am taking a knee on Sunday. I might need someone to help me up. #TakeAKnee— Ed Asner (@TheOnlyEdAsner) September 23, 2017
Stevie Wonder took a knee at a concert last night!
Today, we all speak with our knees.
Kneel so hard Sunday the earth shakes.— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) September 23, 2017