This Tuesday, an interview with President Donald Trump aired on Fox Sports Radio. It went about as “well” as one might expect — it didn’t take long for him to denigrate the professional athletes as “nasty” who have undertaken peaceful protests to bring attention to racial injustice in the United States. These peaceful protests often take the form of kneeling during the national anthem; over at the MLB, players took a knee in solidarity before the anthem played, and at the WNBA, players left the court before the anthem. Trump has wound himself up into a rage over what seems like pretty much all of it, as if he can’t stand the thought of athletes even suggesting a hint of opposition to the way things are.
Trump’s anger over the peaceful protests that have taken place seems to mirror much of his other behavior, really. He can just about never take criticism well, and, simultaneously, he frequently singles out his non-white opponents for even greater criticism. Many of the athletes across professional sports who have participated in the peaceful protests have been black.
Discussing the NBA in particular, Trump said:
‘Some are nasty, very very nasty, and frankly, very dumb… There was a nastiness about the NBA, the way it was done.’
Trump sounds like he feels threatened by the peaceful protesting, which is utterly ridiculous. Everything isn’t about him.
More Trump on NBA players kneeling for the national anthem: "There was a nastiness about the NBA, the way it was done."
"Look at the basketball ratings they're down to very low numbers." https://t.co/9B3xZQfLYT
— Ben Siegel (@benyc) August 11, 2020
During his time on Fox Sports, Trump actually also said that he’d prefer that the NFL didn’t even play their upcoming season if players would take a knee during the anthem. It’s amazing that amidst staggering crises sending the entire U.S. into turmoil, Trump seems concerned with complaining about peaceful protests undertaken for brief moments by professional athletes.
Trump said, in reference to the NFL:
‘I would say this, if they don’t stand for the national anthem I hope they don’t open. But other than that I would love to see them open and we’re doing everything possible for them getting them open. I think they can protest in other ways. They shouldn’t protest our flag or our country.’
The protests are not “against” the flag… but Trump has never let a complete disconnection from reality stop him before.
Casual reminder that Von Miller, a 31-year-old who'd truck just about every player in college football, was sick for nearly three weeks, briefly wondered if he'd die, and said weeks later that that his lungs were not 100 percent.
Not dying ≠ Not being significantly impacted https://t.co/JSU7Vb8d97
— Benjamin Hoffman (@BenHoffmanNYT) August 11, 2020
It’s worth noting — Trump also completely misrepresented the actual threat from the Coronavirus pandemic during his time on Fox Sports. He is, of course, the president of the United States — and he was spouting brazen misinformation. He claimed that the Coronavirus “just attacks old people, especially old people with bad hearts, diabetes, or some kind of physical problem,” adding that “these football players are very young strong people… you’re not going to see people dying” — but that’s just incorrect. First of all, deaths have not by any stretch of the imagination been confined to elderly age groups. Additionally — and crucially — death is not the only possible negative outcome following a Coronavirus infection. Damage to the lungs, heart, kidneys, and even brain have all been reported as possible long-term effects of the virus.
"Kyle Gregory, who played football at Brookwood High, has died from COVID-19 at the age of 24"
"Another fmr Gwinnett County high-school football player has died this week"
"COVID 19 has claimed Sevener’s life at 19. Eli Sevener graduated in 2019, playing football as number 11" https://t.co/IVDJ0IR0pP
— Lily Adams (@adamslily) August 11, 2020