President Trump called Tuesday for the National Football League to ban players who protest by kneeling during the national anthem.
“The NFL has all sorts of rules and regulations. The only way out for them is to set a rule that you can’t kneel during our national anthem,” the president said via Twitter.
The tweet came after a Sunday in which more than 200 NFL players and their coaches kneeled during the anthem, many citing Trump’s sharp criticism of the act at a rally Friday night in Alabama. The anthem demonstrations began in a preseason game in 2016 when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee to protest what he claims is systematic, racially based brutality by police officers toward blacks.
On Monday, the players, coaches and their allies emphasized their right under the First Amendment to protest while critics insisted there is no justification for dishonoring the nation and those who have risked their lives to defend it.
John Gibbs, an African-American contributor to the Federalist, wrote one year ago that many blacks believe racial division increased under President Obama. Gibbs said that while most Americans have worked hard to be “a fundamentally decent people blessed to live in a phenomenal land with a rich heritage,” Obama thinks of America as “a place where racist white Christian fundamentalists came here from Europe, committed genocide against Native Americans, enslaved and segregated black people, denied women, gays, and other minorities their rights, and used capitalism and a rigged legal system to oppress poor people for centuries.”
“He also believes this is still continuing today.”
Gibbs said Obama’s accusations of “white privilege” and systematic racism by police and the justice system have “caused the alleged victims of the perceived discrimination to become more militant, hostile, and only willing to make demands and not willing to engage in dialogue due to increasing their sense of victimhood, and … it’s caused the alleged perpetrators of the perceived discrimination to feel unfairly blamed for problems that are not their fault, thus less willing to engage in dialogue with people who will do nothing but accuse them of wrongdoing.”
“In other words, both sides are moving away from each other. This means that, contrary to unifying the nation, the president’s leadership has caused division and discord,” he found.
The BBC agreed, reporting earlier this year that race relations “have arguably become more polarized and tenser since 20 January 2009.”
“Not long after [Obama] took office in 2009, a New York Times/CBS News poll suggested two-thirds of Americans regarded race relations as generally good. In the midst of last summer’s racial turbulence, that poll found there had been a complete reversal. Now 69 percent of Americans assessed race relations to be mostly bad.”
A Rasmussen poll one year ago found Americans believed race relations had deteriorated, with only 9 percent saying they had improved.
Recently, symbols of the Civil War, such as monuments of Robert E. Lee, have become the targets of activists.
Talk-radio icon Rush Limbaugh pointed out that the movement has “destroyed” the University of Missouri.
It was two years ago when social activism invaded the campus.
“There were racial protests all over the campus. There were people telling stories. ‘A cop shot me! A cop took a shot at me,’ or whatever, and we had that professor who was bullying people around, and we had the wealthy son of a very successful St. Louis guy passing himself off as a poor, beleaguered, downtrodden victim who was leading all these protests to high hell.”
Consequently, freshmen enrollment dropped 35 percent, seven dorms were shut down and hundreds of employees fired.
“There are so many dormitories empty at the University of Missouri, do you know what is happening now? People who want to go to Mizzou football games at Columbia are calling the university and asking to use those dorms as hotel rooms.”
“So Mizzou is an early indicator of what happens when an organization – in this case, the University of Missouri – gives itself over to the protest movement and allows it to rule the roost and define what happens. The University of Missouri is a ghost town now,” he said.
Tuesday, Limbaugh concluded that the NFL has chosen the same path and now is “reduced to a tool of the left.”
The conflict, he suggested, isn’t even about racism, kneeling or speech.
“Let me ask you this. When has anything, any issue, any idea, anything that the left wants to take over and use to advance its agenda, when have they ever left it? When have they ever decided, ‘OK. We’ve done what we accomplished, and we’re moving on?'”
He said: “Have they let go of the abortion issue? Have they let go of Trump? Have they ever decided it’s OK to like Republicans? Look at how many years Washington Republicans and those who want to be Washington Republicans have been trying to buy appeasement and peace and love from the drive-by media and the Democrat Party. And has it ever worked?”
He said of the NFL: “We’re dealing with liberalism here, and we’re dealing with the left. … Everybody knows how much I love the NFL and how bigger than life it’s always seemed to me, but it doesn’t seem bigger than life. It just seems like a tool now. It’s become a tool. I don’t mean slang for fool. It has become something being used by the political forces of the left to advance their agenda, which is an anti-American agenda.”
He pointed to the extreme positions taken by the left.
For example, the Hill reported Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, said he wanted to force the U.S. House to vote to impeach President Trump because of his criticism of the anti-American protests.
And the Daily Caller reported NBA coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs claimed “people have to be made to feel uncomfortable.”
Popovich singled out whites.
“Well, because it’s uncomfortable, and there has to be an uncomfortable element in the discourse for anything to change. Whether it’s the LGBT movement, women’s suffrage, race, it doesn’t matter. People have to be made to feel uncomfortable, and especially white people because we’re comfortable. We still have no clue of what being born white means,” he said.
Meanwhile, two Chicago officers are facing a reprimand for participating in the “kneeling.”
Pat Sajak, the co-host of the TV game show “Wheel of Fortune” jumped into the fray, tweeting: “If I used our show to make political statements, I would be told to stop. That would not violate my right of free speech.”
Limbaugh put it all in perspective, offering a quote from former Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz.
Holtz said: “Two hundred NFL players making millions of dollars take the knee, disrespect the flag, and the president – the leader of this country – doesn’t have the right to say, ‘I think that’s wrong’? This is a workplace environment and he has the right to fire people. He has a right to speak out his mind. This isn’t about race.”
Limbaugh contended the last thing the protesters and their organizers want is unity.
“The left is not seeking unity with anybody. You see unity on college campus? A conservative comes out to speak, do you see any attempt by the leftist opposition to unify with ’em? No, they bring the cops out and they beat ’em up! They now advocate violence against people who are simply uttering words they disagree with.
“Liberal politics succeeds and advances as people are divided, as chaos is created. Obama was an expert at it. Obama was the most divisive president we’ve every had. And all of this stuff, by the way, began when Obama was president, not with Trump.”
He said: “First African-American president, supposed to end all of this, right? Didn’t end any of it, did it?”