Donald Trump, president of the United States, continues to tweet through it. The 45th president is upset that NFL players are allowed to nonviolently protest during the singing of the National Anthem, something that happened en masse on Sunday after Trump’s earlier comments about Colin Kaepernick and the potential for protests over the weekend.
On Friday at a rally in Alabama, Trump called the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback a “son of a bitch” for his decision to kneel last season, a move that has at least in part kept him out of football this year. The quote drew ire around sports and, paired with his abrupt decision not to invite the Golden State Warriors to the White House, made it a tense weekend in the sports world.
Trump tweeted multiple times about respecting the flag and not protesting on Sunday, but every NFL game on Sunday involved a nonviolent protest of some kind. Amid the many voices uniting against Trump in this protest, however, the president attempted to clarify his stance once more.
“The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race,” Trump tweeted on Monday morning. “It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!”
But kneeling was and always has been a racial issue. Kaepernick’s protest began as a way to silently bring attention to police brutality against people of color. Incidents around the country galvanized Kaepernick and his supporters and sparked a dialogue about those issues. It’s a message that’s become a lot more influential than a simple hashtag.
NFL players are not the first to protest during a patriotic song. Long ago, Carlos Delgado refused to stand on the dugout railing for God Bless America. Sports leagues haven’t legislated this kind of patriotism because athletes, just like other Americans, have the right to protest.
And now there are far too many voices to keep silent. Every time Trump tweets about this, it seems, he’s only making it worse.