If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL,or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
...our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU'RE FIRED. Find something else to do!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
Exhibit A: this disjointed, idiotic statement he made over the weekend about the legal, peaceful NFL demonstrations against police brutality and racism, which started with the still-unemployed Colin Kaepernick. After calling them "sons of bitches," Trump insisted that players exercising their First Amendment rights be fired for "disrespect" to the national anthem and flag.
Because America is already (somewhat) great, that statement was met with even more player protests, some of which included the very owners Trump attempted to appeal to. But that didn't stop him from doubling down on his stance Monday, insisting 1) it wasn't about race; and 2) that players not be vocal or demonstrative about their legitimate criticisms of this country's fucked-up, systematic, race-based issues.
The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2017
Trump is mindbogglingly inconsistent in his support or criticism of free speech. But, as it turns out, he's pretty damn consistent with when he chooses to be critical. Instead of telling you, I'll just show you.
Trump had a busy weekend on Twitter; in addition to dropping his unsolicited opinion about the NFL, he announced he was rescinding his White House visit offer to Steph Curry, leaving Curry's team, the Golden State Warriors, with no choice but to decline the visit as a unit.
Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team.Stephen Curry is hesitating,therefore invitation is withdrawn!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
Statement from the Golden State Warriors: pic.twitter.com/6kk6ofdu9X— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) September 23, 2017
Even though Trump attributed the reason for the withdrawal to Curry's "hesitation," the basketball star had been made it abundantly clear that his stance is unwavering against Trump and his dangerous rhetoric. It's pretty safe to assume Trump's decision was made in response to Curry's personal opinion, which he has every right to vocalize.
And then there's the incredibly messy case of ESPN correspondent Jemele Hill's recent criticism of Trump. In a conversation on Twitter, Hill unabashedly (and correctly) called Trump a white supremacist.
Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) September 11, 2017
In retaliation, the Trump administration, via White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, recommended Hill be fired.
"I think that's one of the more outrageous comments that anyone can make," Sanders said during a press briefing, "and certainly something that I think is a fireable offense by ESPN."
What do the aforementioned presidentially shunned figures have in common? Yep, that's right: they're all people of color. Keep that in mind. Let's press on.
In contrast, Trump praised figures in the NASCAR industry Monday for saying anyone who protests in the sport would be fired, effectively quashing members' rights to demonstrate peacefully.
So proud of NASCAR and its supporters and fans. They won't put up with disrespecting our Country or our Flag - they said it loud and clear!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2017
You don't need Google to know that NASCAR is one of, if not the whitest sport in the world. But in case you need some context: this summer, Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr. became the first black driver to race at NASCAR's top level in more than a decade. The reason he made it in? He replaced another driver, who was injured in a wreck. So, here we have Donald, supporting the very white NASCAR owners and corporate leaders, for making it clear that they don't support free speech. Got it.
But wait a minute. Let's go back to February, when Trump threatened U.C. Berkley with the revocation of federal funds because they did not "allow free speech." In this instance, Trump tweeted in defense of former Breitbart News editor Milo Yiannopoulos, whose inflammatory, racist speeches regularly incite riots and violent protests.
If U.C. Berkeley does not allow free speech and practices violence on innocent people with a different point of view - NO FEDERAL FUNDS?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2017
But wait a minute, take two: just last month, Trump tweeted in support of protestors in Boston, who counter-demonstrated against a self-described free speech rally that was held one week after the convening of white supremacists in Charlottesville that turned deadly.
Our great country has been divided for decades. Sometimes you need protest in order to heal, & we will heal, & be stronger than ever before!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 19, 2017
Hmm... what is it about Boston that makes it different than say, Ferguson or Baltimore? Why might Trump be more willing to support protestors there?
Looking a little funny in the light there, President Bum.