There has been a lot of hoopla over Donald Trump’s response to the show of solidarity displayed by the NFL players and owners whose protests during the playing of the national anthem brought attention to the fact that there was something right here at home that needs to be fixed.

When Trump commented on the silent display by the players, he ranted, “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.’” Those comments kicked off a silent rebellion against this attitude, while some have attempted to remind Trump of the First Amendment’s protections of the freedom of speech. This situation is a bellwether for human rights.

Some of the most notable positions taken against Trump’s position come from different walks of life.

In a statement, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote that, “Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.”

Trump’s rant against the NFL is only the tip of the iceberg. This issue is so great that team owners such as the Jacksonsville Jaguars’ Shad Khan have joined the players in this silent protest.

Teams have found ways to put their own spin on this issue. The Steelers have opted to remain in the locker room during the National Anthem. Trump wants to spin this by saying the flag is being disrespected along with our veterans and First Responders, and as usual he gets it wrong.

The rhetoric coming from the White House would have you believe this whole issue is being perpetrated by a bunch of dumb jocks and malcontents.  

“The behavior of the President is unacceptable and needs to be addressed,” Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman said. “If you don’t condemn this divisive rhetoric, you are condoning it.” Former NFL star Reggie Bush tweeted, “Do not allow this clown to divide us. Let’s fight this ignorance. Show up together as one nation and persevere.” These comments don’t sound like they came from a couple of dumb jocks to me.

This issue has spilled over into a variety of other arenas.  

Georgetown Law faculty members delivered a message to Attorney General Jeff Sessions by taking a knee during his visit. When Stevie Wonder took a knee, then moved onto both knees, he demonstrated a shift from support to prayer. Another dumb jock?

Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR’s most popular driver, revisited a quote from JFK: “All Americans are granted rights to peaceful protests. Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

One of America’s songbirds, Jordan Sparks, recently performed the National Anthem while holding up her left hand with this message PROV 31: 8-9 inked on her palm. From the Bible, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; Defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

A football team of eight-year-olds in Cahokia, Ill. sought clarity from their coach on why they felt they should take a knee. The coach, Orlando Gooden, took this opportunity to teach.  He responded with, “Kneeling in this case is a sign of respect, but not for those who broke boundaries.” To add to this mix, the parents of these kids were in full support of their display.

Closer to home, players in Montgomery County, Md. have received permission to follow their own conscience in whether to be a part of this protest—or any other issue that can be resolved peacefully.

This whole issue is in line with Colin Kaepernick’s stand towards injustice and racial profiling which he initiated during the 2016 season. Unfortunately, it became an opportunity for Donald Trump to seize the intent of this protest and spin it into the wrong message.

Tim Lacy

Special to the AFRO