Column: When Trump bashes professional athletes, no one wins

October 27, 2017 — by Leo Cao and Kevin Sze

Recently, the league and the rest of the sports world were thrown into further controversial political territory with the inflammatory and unnecessary involvement of President Trump.

Every fall Sunday for the past few years, the NFL has offered moments of relief from the daily political, economical, racial disparities and disagreements that have plagued the nation. The league has acted as a relief from the issues of the day and has allowed viewers to enjoy their free time.

This changed last year. That’s when observers started to notice then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick taking a knee during the pre-game national anthem to protest a flag that he claimed “oppressed people of color.”

Kaepernick’s kneeling during the anthem is suspected to be the main reason the quarterback has yet to be re-signed by any of the 32 teams in the NFL.

Recently, the league and the rest of the sports world were thrown into further controversial political territory with the inflammatory and unnecessary involvement of President Trump.

Trump’s wild episode started in late September when he encouraged NFL owners to fire any “son of a bitch ” player who knelt during the national anthem.

He followed this up with a series of 22 sports-related tweets directed at the NFL as well as other athletes such as Stephen Curry, who had said he was hesitating to go to the White House for any kind of ceremony.

In a 22-word tweet, Trump rescinded his invitation to Curry and the rest of the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors, saying that they were no longer invited to celebrate their achievement in the White House. This compelled Lebron James to  call Trump a “bum,” fitting for the man who doesn’t understand the power he has as the leader of our country.

For the following weekends, Trump’s callous and offensive Twitter account changed the way the NFL was covered. Pre-game shows and even live commentaries were filled with talk about the political implications of race and protest. Photos of owners linking arms with their players, players kneeling or holding a fist up, were all covered as much as the game itself.

After this back and forth, many NFL players refused to take the field during pre-game ceremonies.

Trump’s disrespect for professional athletes and their rights shows once more why he is unfit to be the president.

There is no rule or law stating that NFL players must stand for the national anthem. Athletes are simply exercising their free speech rights as U.S. citizens to address a social injustice.

Even worse, Trump has seemingly been more focused on sports than rather serious matters such as averting nuclear war with North Korea. Trump is recognized not as our country’s leader, but as an arrogant fool who cannot keep his mouth shut and his opinions to himself.