President Trump is good at creating controversies where previous presidents would never have gone.
Yet another NFL official has now spoken out against the president following his belligerent assessment of NFL players who choose to protest as “sons of bitches” — and this time it’s someone quite notable, considering the circumstances.
The president made those comments while speaking Friday night at a rally for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Luther Strange in Alabama.
”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; He is fired?”‘
CEO of the San Francisco 49ers Jed York has now spoken out against the president, in what’s perhaps one of the most wide-ranging responses to come out of the NFL yet. Colin Kaepernick played on York’s team when he first popularized the protest of taking a knee during the national anthem that has so irked the president.
In his response, York doesn’t just tackle the issue of the president’s insult to the NFL; he also covers the issue of the president disrespecting football players as private citizens who have a right to free speech that Trump seems uninterested in acknowledging.
In a statement York posted to Twitter, he said, in part:
‘The callous and offensive comments made by the President are contradictory to what this great country stands for. Our players have exercised their rights as United States citizens to spark conversation and action to address social injustice.’
He added that his team “will continue to work toward bringing communities, and those who serve them, closer together.”
On top of all of this, it’s very much the case that the cause that players mean to stand for is pressing; African-Americans becoming the victims of police violence at an alarmingly fast rate is a very real fact.
Of course, we all knew before this incident went down what exactly the president thought about protests and demonstrations. In Trump world, white nationalist demonstrations are populated with “fine people,” while left-wing demonstrations countering the white nationalists are populated with, well, “sons of bitches.”
The president is in no position to determine what should be allowed and what should not — and yet here we are, with the head of a football team seemingly more aware of what’s proper and what’s not than the president of the United States.
York isn’t alone. Other NFL team officials have spoken out similarly. Green Bay Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy said that it’s “unfortunate that the president decided to use his immense platform to make divisive and offensive statements about our players and the NFL” adding an observation that “as Americans, we are fortunate to be able to speak openly and freely.”
Los Angeles Chargers Owner and Chairman of the Board Dean Spanos accurately observed that “what our country needs right now is a message of unity, civility and mutual respect” — and it’s telling that it’s the leader of a football team saying this and not the president.
Tennessee Titans Controlling Owner Amy Adams Strunk was blunt in her assessment of the president along these lines, saying that “when I hear anyone making disparaging remarks about [players], I know it has to be the result of not knowing what they bring to our communities or what they have accomplished.”
For now, the president is standing his ground, having repeatedly tweeted against the NFL in the time since his initial remarks.
Featured Image via Drew Angerer/ Getty Images