President Donald Trump has waged an all-out offensive against the NFL players who kneel in protest during the national anthem are disrespectful and unpatriotic.
Trump has frequently accused the players who have engaged in a two-season protest against racial of insulting the flag, the military, and America itself.
Back in September, while addressing an audience in Alabama, Trump said: They’re ruining the game. That’s a total disrespect of our heritage. That’s a total disrespect of everything that we stand for.”
Perhaps because he was high on audience applied, Trump added:
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired.”
But last week, the president’s tone changed when he told reporters that he wanted to work with those same NFL players, but on the single issue of presidential pardons.
Trump said: “I am going to ask all of those people to recommend to me — because that’s what they’re protesting — people that they think were unfairly treated by the justice system,” Trump said. “I’m going to take a look at those applications. And if I find, and my committee finds that they are unfairly treated, then we will pardon them or at least let them out (of prison).”
While the racial inequity of the prison industrial complex is probably one of the aspects of these protests, it is undeniable that the primary reason for the protests is police brutality. Most specifically, the number of Black Americans who are killed by police officers who then face seemingly no consequences.
As Trump has been caught encouraging police officers to “rough up” those they arrest, I doubt he’s going to be able to bridge the fundamental difference between his view on this issue and that of the protesters.