Views / Metro Views

Column

Metro News globe

Metro Views

Vicky Mochama: The voice of Metro News.

NFL, Trump muddling #TakeAKnee message: Mochama

One protest — ongoing, multi-faceted and predating this president — continued Sunday, but with many more bodies joining the cause. But another protest sprung up concurrently that was more nebulous and less easy to define.

In the aftermath of Trump’s citation of NFL players, it’d be easy to think that only footballers are taking a public stance. Yet athletes from soccer to basketball to tennis to baseball have all joined in this silent protest, writes Vicky Mochama.

Michael Reaves / Getty Images

In the aftermath of Trump’s citation of NFL players, it’d be easy to think that only footballers are taking a public stance. Yet athletes from soccer to basketball to tennis to baseball have all joined in this silent protest, writes Vicky Mochama.

No one this Sunday was protesting the national anthem. Over 100 football players sat and kneeled against police violence and for Black liberation.

Now that Donald Trump, a white supremacist who can’t bear the idea of Black men freely speaking, has waded in, this main message has become obscured.

At a rally on Friday, the president said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’”

He followed up with similar tweets on Saturday just in case the racists hadn’t heard.

He was, of course, referring to the protests that began last year by Colin Kaepernick, formerly of the San Francisco 49ers. Players across the league joined him by sitting or kneeling through the national anthem.

In the aftermath of Trump’s citation of NFL players, it’d be easy to think that only footballers are taking a public stance. Yet athletes from soccer to basketball to tennis to baseball have all joined in this silent protest.

In fact, players in the Women’s National Basketball Association have most ardently protested. At Game 1 of the championship series on Sunday, the Minnesota Lynx locked arms while the Los Angeles Sparks stayed in their locker room during the national anthem. As Think Progress reported, the teams have had a summer of activism in service of Black lives. Their steadfastness and moral clarity is notable and commendable.

Their actions serve as an interesting counterpoint to the situation that emerged Sunday on the football sidelines.

One protest — ongoing, multi-faceted and predating this president — continued, but with many more bodies joining the cause. More players than ever before sat out or kneeled.

But another protest sprung up concurrently that was more nebulous and less easy to define.

On the field, many players linked arms in a show of unity. Other teams opted out of a public display by staying in their locker rooms.

Only one statement, the Seahawks’, mentioned race.

And not one of them called for racial justice.

It was a remarkable day. Yet it revealed some of the fractures remaining in football that are less present in, say, women’s basketball whose league has come around to supporting the political protests of its players.

Refusing to draft him, the National Football League, its executives and owners have kept Colin Kaepernick off the field.

Now, they co-opt his style to muddle a message they do not believe in.

Harangued by the commander in chief, Sunday’s spectacles revealed the deep confusion of some, the newfound convictions of others, and a sorry state of affairs.

More on Metronews.ca