NFL Players Openly Defy Trump With Sunday BLM Protest

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After the kickoff starting the Sunday NFL game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Atlanta Falcons, every one of the 22 players who were on the field took a knee as part of the ongoing peaceful protest movement within professional athletic circles to bring attention to racial injustice in the United States. Originally, these peaceful protests took the form of taking a knee during the national anthem. During his time with the San Francisco 49ers, Colin Kaepernick was the first to undertake that particular gesture; on Sunday, “several” Seahawks players did not stand for the anthem, The Daily Beast reports.

President Donald Trump has obsessively raged against peaceful protests by professional athletes — but evidently, the athletes don’t care much. Peaceful protests have been undertaken in just about every major professional sports league recently: before the recent opening game of the 2020 MLB season, the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals teams took a knee together (although not during the anthem), and during the opening game of the recent WNBA season, both teams who were set to participate in the match-up (including the Seattle Storm and New York Liberty) walked off the court before the anthem. More recently, NBA players went on strike after the police shooting of a black man named Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

After the NBA strike, top Trump allies including his son-in-law/ adviser Jared Kushner and the vice president’s chief of staff, Marc Short, complained. Kushner mockingly characterized the boycotts as the players merely taking “a night off from work,” while Short called the protest “absurd and silly.”

Trump himself has complained about the protests many times. On July 21, he petulantly tweeted:

Looking forward to live sports, but any time I witness a player kneeling during the National Anthem, a sign of great disrespect for our Country and our Flag, the game is over for me!’

It’s worth noting — many recent protests have occurred before or after the anthem, but Trump has seemed like he’s using complaints about mid-anthem protests as leverage against protests as a whole.

Trump has peddled plenty of racism on his own time. For instance, he has recently been running far and wide with the idea that he’s going to save the “suburbs” from an “invasion” of low income housing. That’s thinly veiled race-baiting — it’s marginalized communities like many black Americans who are most often associated with low income housing.