I’m sure you have all seen the #TakeAKnee trend on Twitter, the Donald Trump versus Lebron James memes on Instagram, or heard the infamous President being mentioned in the media again recently. Whilst we lead busy lives as students, it is important to stay informed. So, here I’m bringing you the most relevant information concerning Donald Trump and his involvement with the NFL, NBA and seemingly, all American sports leagues.
September 22: At a rally in Alabama, President Trump condemned NFL players for not standing during the National Anthem. Additionally, he criticized league owners for not disciplining the athletes who kneeled during the anthem, which the President viewed as a threat against patriotism. Loudly he stated to the audience, “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!” This public comment made by the President of The United States would surely not go unnoticed.
September 23: Golden State Warriors star player Steph Curry expressed his uncertainty about whether or not to attend the annual White House celebration for champions in professional sports. Responses to Trump’s statement did not end there; NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell slammed Trump, calling the President “divisive”. Additionally, numerous professional athletes have stepped up and made various statements supporting their comrades, including Lebron James and Kobe Bryant.
Naturally, President Trump responded to Curry via Twitter uninviting him to the White House celebration. That tweet was followed by two more, “If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!”
All in the same day, the Warriors released a statement accepting Trump’s dis-invitation, however, the team still plans on traveling to Washington in February “to celebrate equality, diversity, and inclusion — the values that we embrace as an organization.”
President Trump’s Twitter posts continued on Sunday morning, urging sports fans to steer clear of professional games due to the players’ protests, Trump stated “You will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!” This indicates that Trump urges that those who love the country will boycott athletics to foster patriotism.
Arguably, no greater patriotism is displayed than that which occurs during sporting events; the Olympics provide national unity, and national leagues create harmony between states and cities.
September 24: Ignoring the boycott, football teams took a knee during the national anthem and the Pittsburgh Steelers specifically refused to exit while it played. All teams appeared to be doing some form of protesting.
The scandal begs the question, is there a proper way to convey patriotism? Are American soldiers concerned about anthems and sports teams or are they more concerned with issues of freedom and equality? Webster’s Dictionary defines ‘patriotism’ as displaying vigorous support for one’s country, however, this does not specify how one should do so.
Interestingly enough, just when you thought there was solidarity among the NFL, on Sunday the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL accepted the invitation to the White House celebration. The organization stated, “Any agreement or disagreement with a president’s politics, policies or agenda can be expressed in other ways. However, we very much respect the rights of other individuals and groups to express them as they see fit.”
Granted, the team has a right to attend the celebration, however, this may cause future complications within the NHL. Although, the Penguins are just in arguing that individuals and groups should be able to express themselves as they see fit, individual freedoms should never be compromised.
So, how do you show patriotism?
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