Hell of a weekend in politics, folks. If you want a short summary of it, here’s the lead on Peter Baker’s NYTimes op-ed this morning:
Over the course of just 17 hours this weekend, President Trump assailed John McCain, Chuck Schumer, Stephen Curry, the National Football League, Roger Goodell, Iran and Kim Jong-un — the “Little Rocket Man.” And that was on his day off.
In the last 36 hours, the man has tweeted about sports or individual sports players 13 times, while he has not mentioned Puerto Rico, which has no electricity and is suffering a massive humanitarian crisis (my favorite Twitter response to that this weekend was from some numbskull who was like, “Trump is the President of AMERICA, not Puerto Rico.” That about sums up the Trump base).
Speaking of the Trump base, there’s at least one sport that Donald Trump is suddenly a fan of:
So proud of NASCAR and its supporters and fans. They won't put up with disrespecting our Country or our Flag - they said it loud and clear!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2017
The approval rating of a Manhattan billionaire among NASCAR fans is probably like 80 percent. Only in America, folks. And if you’re wondering how many Black NASCAR drivers there are, let me save you a Google search. As of 2014, there were three. No, not three NOW. Three total. Ever. In fact, if you ask Google how many Black NASCAR drivers there are, it autocompletes to “How many Black NASCAR drivers have there ever been.”
Anyway, for those keeping a running tab on such things, I’m not going to go through every NFL team and highlight who kneeled, who linked arms, and who didn’t, but there were a lot — check out the Google images. Almost every organization came out against Trump (noticeably absent, Jerry Jones and the fucking Dallas Cowboys, plus the Bengals put out a shitty statement about how politics needs to stay out of sports). In Denver, 32 players took a knee, so no, Donald Trump. It wasn’t a “small percentage.”
Many people booed the players who kneeled yesterday (which was a small percentage of total). These are fans who demand respect for our Flag!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2017
Although, white guy? Whaddya doing? I mean, appreciate you giving your colleague there a hand of support, but if you’re going to stand, go to the standing section, dude?
I do wish more white players would have knelt (there weren’t a lot, although I know Travis Kelce did), but the solidarity was … nice, I guess. Everyone, at least, seemed to be united against Donald Trump (including Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and even Drew Brees who is on the far, far right of the political spectrum).
A lot of players spoke about the issue after the game, and I can’t even begin to round them all up, but Josh Norman was perhaps the most vocal, speaking about it for about 20 minutes after the Washington Redsk**s game.
“He’s supposed to be the President of America,” Norman said of Trump. “He’s supposed to be. Calls you out like that as a group? … I’m just telling you right now, this man is not welcome in Washington, D.C. He’s not. I hope he’s [not] gonna be around when I see him. He’s not welcome. I can say that to your face: He’s not welcome. You’re picking on the wrong people. Sorry man, but it’s just being honest. I mean, I respect the [office], I really do, but when it gets to that point, he’s talking about 1,800 men. Grown men. They’ve got families. … That right there needed to be addressed.”
Here’s Dolphins safety Michael Thomas, who makes this personal. Seriously, watch this, and think about how heartbreaking it is that the leader of our country is calling players sons of bitches for doing nothing more than asking for equality. This hurts:
Dolphins safety Michael Thomas started breaking up when talking about Trump calling him "a son of a b!tch." pic.twitter.com/Z4wroPcvzW— Omar Kelly (@OmarKelly) September 24, 2017
You see that, and it hits you. Our country is being run by George fucking Wallace, a man using the Presidential podium to reduce Black men. It’s unconscionable. Genuinely.
I did love this, however:
Didn’t see this coming… singer for the Seahawks-Titans game takes a knee pic.twitter.com/ILDtoGddDW— Jasmine (@JasmineLWatkins) September 24, 2017
Trump has even provoked a response from the Washington Post Editorial Board:
So buckle in, folks. This issue is not going away. Donald Trump has decided to start another culture war. He’s not going to let it go. In fact, this was his most recent tweet this morning.
He’s doubling and tripling and quadrupling down. I don’t know who is advising him on this (no one, I suspect), I don’t know what the polling is (I don’t care), but nothing about this makes any goddamn sense except for this:
Your hand. It’s…photoshopped? Jesus, Donny. pic.twitter.com/2UlF5mSlmn— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) September 25, 2017
In ten or 20 years, we’ll look back on the Trump presidency, and this is how he’ll be remembered: As a guy who tried to drive a wedge into our country. I hope that we continue to trend the way the NFL did yesterday, by uniting against him.
One final note that should not be lost: Kaep did this. All of this is because Colin Kaepernick decided last year to take a stand. He may never play in the NFL again, but history is going to judge him as a great civil rights leader one day. Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees will end up in the record books, but Colin Kaepernick will end up in our history books.