With the exception of Putin, it seems as if no one is safe from Trump’s public vitriol.
During a speech in Alabama, the deeply unpopular president lashed out at football players who have participated in the national anthem protest initiated by then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016.
“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. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’” Trump told supporters in an apparent reference to Kaepernick and other athletes who have kneeled in solidarity.
Kaepernick’s mom had a fitting response to the bombastic Trump:
Guess that makes me a proud bitch!
— Teresa Kaepernick (@B4IleaveU) September 23, 2017
The quarterback began the protest to highlight racial injustice in the United States. The backlash alone has proven the need for such public action, as heinous threats of lynching and violence have flooded the internet in response.
Trump has called for a boycott of the NFL in order to pressure owners to fire or suspend players who kneel during the national anthem. The NFL is by far the most popular sports league in the United States. While it is true that the league’s right-leaning fanbase is not thrilled with the protests, discomfort over necessary conversations about equality will not necessarily translate into a willing exodus of football enthusiasts.
Certainly, Trump’s followers are likely buying into his cheap reliance on rabid yet incoherent pro-US sentiment. But as the flailing president picks fights with institutions across the social spectrum, there could be a fallout. The NFL – far from a progressive organization – is airing a unity ad in support of players targeted by Trump. Even players and coaches who have not kneeled in solidarity have been locking arms to show support for their publicly maligned teammates.
Trump could lose this battle, dealing yet another blow to his dismal polling numbers.