In the past few weeks, President Donald Trump decided to take a break from politics to talk to the American public about sports. At a rally in Alabama last Friday, Trump reprimanded NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem, calling for NFL team owners to fire these players. In addition, NBA champion and two-time MVP, Stephen Curry, of the Golden State Warriors, declined the White House’s invitation to visit. In response, Trump tweeted out, “Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating; therefore, invitation is withdrawn!”
First of all, I am not for NFL players kneeling during the national anthem. We play and stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” in order to honor the men and women who have served in our country’s military and protected our rights to freedom. It seems backwards to me to kneel for an anthem instead of trying to hold rallies or create town-hall-type conversations where real conversation can take place. However, I also recognize that the reason players have been kneeling is to bring awareness to the racial violence that has taken place over the past few years between police officers and minorities.
That being said, I want to point out the flaw in President Trump’s logic. For the past year or so that these players have been kneeling, they have endured a fair amount of criticism. People have called them crybabies, idiots, and everything in between; in particular, quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the first player to get attention for kneeling during the anthem, still remains a free- agent despite having once led the San Francisco 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance in 2013. Yet, they have continued with their stance. Why exactly would the players decide to quit kneeling just because of President Trump’s protest to their stance? Considering that he has been touted as something of an idiot by most professional athletes, his opposition to their stance should mean little to them.
Regarding the Curry tweet, it seems a bit late for Trump to be withdrawing his invitation, considering Curry said that he would not vote to attend the White House the day before. It would be similar to telling an employee that they are fired after they have already handed in their resignation. However, I do not agree with Curry on his all-out rejection of the invitation. Right now, our country faces a growing divide between people who believe Trump could do good things for our country and those who do not. If Curry and rest of the Golden State Warriors wanted to stop the growing isolation amongst the American people, I believe a visit to the White House in spite of their disagreements with President Trump could be a move in the right direction.