Since Friday, President Trump has been on a crusade against NFL players who kneel while the national anthem is sung at football games, rather than stand, hand on heart. Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee last year to protest racist police brutality. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people,” he said then. Kaepernick is currently without a team, but many other players have followed suit, kneeling, sitting, standing while linking arms, or staying off the field altogether during "The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Trump is not pleased. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b-tch off the field right now?,” the president said, calling for the NFL to fire players who kneel and for fans to boycott games. He later tweeted that his opposition has nothing to do with race but rather with respect for the U.S. flag and those who have fought for it.
Why is the president so up in arms about athletes’ silent protests? And why is the NFL even on POTUS’s agenda? Great questions.
We can think of three plausible explanations:
1) Donald Trump is in a fantasy football league with Betsy DeVos, Jared Kushner, Rex Tillerson, Vladimir Putin, and some White House interns. Trump was sure he would crush those half-wits, but he is floundering. If the season goes on like this, he's going to be out $30K, and that's not even the issue; the issue is Tillerson's smug face. That son of a b-tch has mega-scorer Kareem Hunt. He snatched up Antonio Brown and Mike Evans before Trump got a chance. Even Vlad has a better roster than Trump, and Vlad calls soccer football. This is a sure loss, which makes Trump a loser. Unless he could find a way to cripple his opponents' teams. After making some offhand comments about firing kneeling football players at a rally last week (There was a lot of adrenaline going around!), some of his fantasy rivals' best athletes clapped back by taking a knee themselves. It was like they were handing Trump the solution.
Instead of Tweeting about Rocket Man, Trump could run with this grudge—get them fired, boycotted, whatever got these guys off the field. Just one problem—the only saving grace on Trump’s lineup is Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, and he protested too ... but not by kneeling. Easy fix! Hear that, Twitter? Locking arms is okay, it's the kneeling that's the problem. Things are turning around. Trump may take home that W after all.
2) Trump has no idea what players are protesting by taking a knee. Or at least didn't when he made his initial comments, so he is now doubling down.
3) Trump does have an idea about what players are protesting by taking a knee but does not care. This is because he is dismissive of injustices that do not inconvenience him personally, including racism.
But probably #1.