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On the Field Protests in the Time of Trump: A Showing of Solidarity for the Ages

Every day, I think to myself, “There’s no way the Trump presidency can get any worse.” And every day, I’m proven wrong.

During a recent speech, Trump condemned NFL players who protest the national anthem, calling them “sons of bitches” and saying that owners should fire them. He of course took to Twitter to do the same thing.

He urged NFL fans to boycott professional football, saying that the protests will end if people stop tuning in or leave the stadium when players protest.

This also came after Trump condemned Stephen Curry for not wanting to continue on the tradition of champion teams visiting the White House.

This in turn prompted a masterful response from LeBron James, whose tweet became the most liked Twitter post of any athlete in the social media site’s history.

You might be able to get away with criticizing the greatest shooter in basketball history in Curry, but you can’t escape the wrath of the King.

On Sunday, NFL players everywhere responded to Trump’s statements by inceasing their protests.

In addition to players kneeling or sitting during the anthem, the Pittsburgh Steelers upped the ante by completely staying in the locker room during the singing of the national anthem prior to their game against the Chicago Bears.

What Donald Trump has said in the past few days has been a disgrace to this country. Our president is condemning athletes for exercising their right to protest, the very principle on which the United States was founded. Nobody is being threatened. Nobody is being hurt. Nobody is being killed. The man who referred to White Supremacists as being “very fine people” is crying about people, who are predominantly People of Color, kneeling during a song.

Thanks to such widespread protest of the president’s actions, as well as continuing on in the fight against racial oppression, I have never been more proud to be an NFL fan than I was this past Sunday.

Football is the most popular sport in the United States, so its players participate in the largest athletic platform in the nation. The fact that they are using their platform to promote something they believe in despite the obvious backlash that will follow is the type of bravery that we should all strive for. They know they will be condemned by millions of people, and yet they persevere. In these times, the most divisive the US has experienced since the Vietnam War, it is vital that we stand our ground and fight for what we believe in. For that, I applaud the NFL and its players.

For someone who says that he wants to unite the people of this country, Trump has done more than anybody to try and tear us apart. Sports, on the other hand, bring us together. People of all backgrounds and beliefs come together to root for one common cause. Even if they’re pulling for opposite teams, they’re still enjoying the game they love together.

If you’re the type of person who thinks that standing for the national anthem is the right thing to do, that’s fine. You do you. However, there is no acceptable reason to try and disrespect someone’s right to protest. The United States is a country founded on protest. These athletes are doing their part to affect change and to make this country a better place for all of us. It is a truly wonderful thing.

I love football; I always have, and I always will. But now more than ever, I take a special amount of pride in the athletes I watch every Thursday, Sunday, and Monday. I will continue do to my part in supporting the league, its players, and their right for fight for what they believe in. I hope that you will do the same.

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