This past Friday, Donald Trump started a war with the National Football League. At a rally he held in Alabama, Trump used explicit language to describe how he feels about those who choose to kneel during the National Anthem. NFL players and owners alike responded to Trump’s blatant divisive language on a large scale this past weekend. Many players opted to either link arms with teammates and owners in solidarity, kneel for the Anthem or not make an appearance at all. Trump and his administration’s performance of white privilege, lack of clarity regarding the First Amendment and clearly racist tactics of holding onto supporters is unlike anything seen in previous administrations.
Trump’s comments represent a clear example of the white privilege that plagues America to this day. While many people feel blessed to call America their home and gladly stand for the flag, this sentiment is not shared by all. Trump’s comments entail that he is only thinking about what America means to him when he stands for the flag.
America has given Trump the opportunity to accomplish what he intended on accomplishing in his life, because of his status as a white man. However, he is not considering how America has treated minorities and other groups who are cheated out of a successful life. Americans are constantly reminded that we live in “the best country in the world.” For someone who are privileged in our society, this is easy to get behind. However, this is likely a much more difficult idea to support for minorities who have lived a life where they are not prioritized.
— AlwaysActions (@AlwaysActions) September 29, 2017
Trump and his administration have been inconsistent regarding the First Amendment. Trump expressed his desire for NFL players who sit during the anthem to be fired. Close to a month ago, he justified white nationalists marching the street by saying people “protested very quietly” against the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue. Steve Munchin, Trump’s Treasury Secretary, said on Sunday that “players have the right for free speech off the field.” This is a clear denial of what our country was supposed to run on.
Trump and his administration are tactically attempting to hold onto their core supporters by holding these rallies and getting people on their side to – in this case – dislike the NFL. It is clear that Trump often makes clear attempts to be divisive. This is because he is trying to hold onto his core supporters that fueled his victory. The NFL comments were made at a rally in Alabama and Trump has held rallies in eight other states since his inauguration, all of which he won in the electoral college. To hold onto these supporters by appealing to them via racism is clearly selfish. He is doing whatever he can to maintain power, as opposed to healing divides in America.
Trump’s attempt to get people to inherit a distaste for the players of the NFL is more significant than it seems at the surface. The NFL is one of the most popular aspects of American life and 70 percent of the league consists of black men. By urging his supporters to have hatred towards these players, Trump is doing more than instilling hatred on football — he is instilling hatred on the African-American community.