Earl Smith, PhD and Angela J. Hattery, PhD
Pre-game season, 2018 and it is on already. At Thursday, August 9th and Friday August 10th NFL pre-games professional football players, in a variety of ways, demonstrated as they have over the past several years against police brutality in the United States.
Players such as Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins picked up where he left off last season in Thursday night’s pre season game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Additionally, so did running back Marshawn Lynch of the Oakland Raiders continuing to sit during the national anthem. The Raiders beat the Detroit Lions.
Other athletes raised gloved fists in support for the movement started by now unemployed Colin Kaepernick.
What is so depressing is that the commentators, talking heads, the uninitiated, keep harking back to the 1960’s as the “golden era” of sport protest by Black athletes.
Some of this is true. Of course Tommie Smith & John Carlos in Mexico City in 1968. Jim Brown gets a nod here as well.
But in 2018 Brown is singing a different tune: “Hall of Famer Jim Brown says he’d never kneel during anthem.”
Of course times are different now. The stakes are higher. So are the dollars. Look, Kaepernick and others are unemployed and the support for protest are weak.
Full throttle against these athletes is being led by President Trump. He lashes out at them; he curses them; he calls their mothers “bitches.” (“Get the sons of bitches off the field.”) He lied about the phone call to a dead Black soldiers wife Myeshia Johnson that her husband, Sgt. La David T. Johnson “knew what he signed up for.” In this dispute he lashed out at Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (Fla.).
We forget how often he goes after Rep. Maxine Waters, calling the California Democratic representative “crazy” and “low IQ.”
August 14, 2018. Trump again used derogatory language to describe Black people. This time his long time reality TV associate Omarosa:
“When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!”
You would think these outbursts would push Congress to reign him in. MUTE! Almost nothing from anyone in this dysfunctional body says anything and moreso, does anything.
Since this is about Trump and his strange paranoia about the Black Athlete he is also obsessed with LeBron James.
“Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!”
For a sitting President of the United States to be doing this is criminal. He ignores Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and now we know from the research done by The New England Journal of Medicine that over 1,400 people have died from the disaster which is far above the official estimate of 64 deaths. Reminder; Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory with commonwealth status. Puerto Ricans are US citizens.
President Donald Trump is obsessed with LeBron James; Don Lemon whom he calls the “dumbest” person on TV; Maxine Waters who he says has a “low IQ”; all Black NFL players who protest police brutality are “sons of bitches” — and just recently Omarosa a long time associate of his who is now a “dog.”
In closing we are reminded that the personal and malicious things the President says about Black people
e.g., “that those Blacks are not people; these are animals”
- LeBron James
- Maxine Waters
have now become normalized behavior of someone who desperately wants the moniker of “leader of the free world.”
He needs to be reminded, though, that there would be no NFL without the Black athletes who make up the majority of starting players and 70% of these NFL “Gladiators” are black.