Image: Kenny Stills
Image: Miami Dolphins wide receiver Kenny Stills kneels in protest of racial injustice during the playing of the National Anthem.

NFL is back, so is Trump’s targeting of NFL players who protest racial injustice

By Bryan Ramos

T

he NFL is officially back as 12 preseason games kicked off last night, which can only mean one thing: the president of the United States is back to attacking NFL players who protest racial injustice.

During last night’s game, two players from the Miami Dolphins, Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson, kneeled during the playing of the National Anthem. Others like Malcolm Jenkins of the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dolphins’ Robert Quinn raised their fists during the anthem.

Image: Malcom Jenkins
Image: Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins raises his fist in protest of racial injustice during the playing of the National Anthem before last night’s preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Image: Robert Quinn
Image: Miami Dolphins defensive end Robert Quinn raises his fist in protest of racial injustice during the playing of the National Anthem before last night’s preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

And four Jacksonville Jaguars players, Jalen Ramsey, Telvin Smith, Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon, remained inside the tunnel while the anthem was played before their game to avoid the situation altogether.

And like clockwork, Trump, who received five draft deferments during the Vietnam War, turned into Twitter Fingers (shoutout Drake) and threatened the NFL players.

Unsurprisingly, the president makes a number of false claims, or as normal people call them, lies, in his tweets. For example, plenty of NFL players have spoken out and given clear reason as to why they’re protesting. For example, here is Jenkins right before his game last night.

And here is a quote from Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers from earlier this week.

Another one of Trump’s “false claims” was that “most of the money goes to the players.” It doesn’t. 48.5% of the nearly $15 billion the NFL makes annually goes to the players, according to Fox Business.

And when Trump “claims” “NFL players are at it again – taking a knee when they should be standing proudly for the National Anthem”, keep in mind he’s largely exaggerating the non-issue. It was only two NFL players who kneeled last night. 24 teams played. Teams have 90-man rosters. That’s two out of 2,160 players, or 0.09%, who kneeled. So, president, please relax before you have an aneurysm, or don’t.

Some will attempt to discredit these NFL players with “why don’t they do more?” and “they’re not actually accomplishing anything” through the peaceful protests. To those, please exit your bubble for once. They are.

Malcolm Jenkins has traveled to Washington, D.C., for a meeting with lawmakers to discuss criminal justice reform. He’s collaborated with Philadelphia’s Caucus of Working Educators to advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement. And during the season, he saw the city from the passenger seat of a squad car while on a ride-along with a Philadelphia police officer.

Image via Vice News
Image: Malcolm Jenkins during his ride along with Philadelphia police.

Kenny Stills was nominated for the 2017 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for his off-the-field actions and has won the Dolphins’ Nat Moore Community Service Award two straight years for his tireless work with kids on the players’ days off.

Image: Kenny Stills has been awarded the Miami Dolphins’ community service award two years in a row, is heavily involved in various youth organizations, was a team captain last season, has been one of Miami’s most productive players and is considered a model employee by coach Adam Gase.

And just one day after kneeling in protest of social injustice during the playing of the National Anthem, here is the Dolphins’ Albert Wilson giving back to his community.

So with Trump back to attacking NFL players, his cult followers will surely follow his lead and turn to the “stick to sports” shtick.

I wonder if they’ve ever asked why Trump won’t stick to actual problems?

Flint, Michigan is still without clean drinking water.

Parts of Puerto Rico are still without power due to a hurricane that happened almost a year ago.

And 559 migrant children are still separated from their parents thanks to Trump’s policies.

So, please, spare me the outrage at NFL players who protest and speak out against inequality and systemic oppression, while the president of the United States won’t do anything to fix actual problems plaguing this country.

Image: Kenny Stills
Image: Kenny Still before last night’s preseason game. Stills was nominated for the NFL’s 2017 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award and winner of the on the Miami Dolphins’ Nat Moore Community Service Award for tireless work with kids on the players’ days off.

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