Civil libertarians, racial justice advocates, and NFL players from across the league expressed outrage overnight after President Donald Trump called on owners of professional football teams to fire players who express their political views.
In a veiled reference to quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who last season started a wave of protest by kneeling during pre-game National Anthems in protest of police killings of unarmed black men, Trump said during a campaign-style rally in Alabama on Friday night, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of the NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now?'”
Bishop Sankey, running back for the Minnesota Vikings who called the president’s behavior a “disgrace,” was among the many players in the league who condemned the president for his comments.
Kaepernick remains unsigned to a team this season and though Trump did not mention him specifically by name the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback has remained a key target among right-wingers who express the opinion that black athletes should keep quiet about their political opinions.
As journalist and justice activist Shaun King tweeted:
When asked by a reporter about the president’s insult that appeared to reference her son, Kaepernick’s mother reportedly responded by saying, “Guess that makes me a proud bitch!”
Meanwhile, ESPN journalist Jemele Hill, who also became a target of the White House recently after stating publicly she considers Trump a white supremacists (a widely held belief which plenty of evidence supports), took to Twitter and predicted that neither owners nor league officials would speak out against the president’s latest statement.
And King, making the argument that Kaepernick remains unsigned specifically for his protests last year, added:
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