Before I start I would like to forewarn you, the reader, of the use of profane language in the below column, not in any form of malice except in ways used by others.
Likewise, I would like to officially and formally announce it has been a crazy year. In fact, the last few years have been pretty crazy. As college students know, life gets so busy and crazy that it can be hard to recall anything that isn’t relevant to the first biology exam, like that ‘power house of the cell’ thing. Admittedly, even remembering what we ate this past week is tricky enough as things seem to move a million miles an hour.
Even the news reports are coming in faster than we can keep up with, and by the time we think we are finally current on our ‘current events,’ a new story develops, leaving us another step behind.
This past week headlines have been filled with President Donald Trump’s ‘Son of a Bitch’ speech. To fully grasp current events, I would like to take a moment to recall the events that have lead our President to give a ‘Son of a Bitch’ speech in the first place.
In 2013 Trayvon Martin, a black American teen, was shot and killed by a man named George Zimmerman, who was tried in court and found not guilty. This particular case conceived the Twitter hashtag and political movement, Black Lives Matter.
With the verdict of the Zimmerman case still fresh on Americans’ minds, in Ferguson Missouri, Darren Wilson, a white police officer, shot and killed Michael Brown, a black American teen.
Again, soon after the shooting in Ferguson, a black American man named Eric Garner was recorded being choked to death by white police officers in New York City.
These three high profile cases seemed to have underlying tones of racial profiling and became the catalyst for a new movement of social and racial equality protests. As similar video recordings of black American children and men being innocently shot and killed by white police surfaced, the movement for equality and a limelight on police brutality grew.
In 2016, National Football League player Colin Kaepernick felt he could not let these cases of police brutality against black Americans go unnoticed, so he began to partake in peaceful protests his own way. Kaepernick began to sit during the national anthem before every football game to protest but soon began to take a knee instead. Because of this protest, he quickly became the talk of the news.
His actions were considered brave, disrespectful, brilliant, wrong or noble, all depending on whom you ask. It now seems far right Republicans hated him while most others had little to no opinions on the matter unless directly asked. Of course this is an over simplified synopsis of what has transpired in the last few years, but it serves as a basis of knowledge for the understanding of events this past week.
On Sept. 22, during a campaign rally in Alabama, President Donald Trump used bigotry to spark division and hate, as he often does.
President Trump 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 followed that by saying whichever NFL owner did that would be the most popular man in America.
By this point it’s nothing new to hear our President say such vulgar and inappropriate things. Sad. But this time it’s the underlying racial issues here that seem to be the tipping point.
About a month ago, President Trump refused to condemn white nationalists in Virginia and is now calling protesters in majority black-dominated sport derogatory names.
In response to President Trump’s unacceptable behavior, NFL teams and fans this past week took a series of actions to spite his hate. Some teams and fans kneeled or sat during the national anthem before football games while others refused to exit the locker room at all. Not only is the NFL receiving the blunt end of President Trump’s hate and divisiveness as he tries to politicize sports, but the National Basketball Association too has received tweets and directed hate towards them because of similar actions.
Despite the President’s actions, the NFL, NBA and other sport franchises are uniting together to show love and respect for one another across teams and leagues to protect each other against President Trump’s hate. It can be hard to dissociate from ourselves and our personal beliefs to find common ground, but I think sport franchises, of all news-worthy organizations, have set a precedent for us to follow.
We as an American people can look to them and see that there is a way to overcome differences, to band together and set standards for ourselves. Not every professional athlete is against Trump, nor is every single one for him, much like ourselves as a collection of citizens. However, when inappropriate behavior is displayed and our fellow Americans have been targeted, it is our right and responsibility to call that behavior out with intolerance.