Even when the NFL isn’t bringing attention to the anthem issue, the President will continue to talk about it.
That’s what he did on Friday morning. Asked by FOX News Channel whether any players have accepted the President’s offer to consider whether any people who have been treated unfairly by the justice system should be pardoned or have their sentences commuted, the President gave an answer — and more.
“No, I haven’t heard,” he said, via Kyle Griffin of MSNBC. “You know, they’re all saying, ‘Oh, it has nothing to do with the flag, it’s the way we’ve been treated.’ In the meantime, they’re making $15 million a year.”
It’s a brilliant sleight of hand, because part of what he said is accurate. The players definitely are saying, “It has nothing to do with the flag.” But the players definitely aren’t saying, “It’s the way we’ve been treated.”
The players inclined to protest during the anthem are promoting a cause far bigger than themselves. They are concerned about the manner in which American citizens making far, far less than $15 million per year (then again, most NFL players are making far, far less than $15 million per year) are treated by police officers and by the justice system.
The President downplays the concerns by pretending that the concerns relate only to multi-multi-millionaires. That’s just not the case, and no fair-minded person can reasonably see it that way.
“Look, I’m all for the athletes,” the President added. “I think it’s great. I love athletics, I love sports. But they shouldn’t get the politics involved.”
The players didn’t get politics involved. The NFL got the flag involved by forcing the players to leave the locker room for the anthem, and the NFL then got politics involved by giving players the right to protest during the anthem.
Then, politics got involved in football when the President said he’d like to see an NFL owner respond to a protesting player by saying, “Get that son of a bitch off the field. He’s fired!”
The President closed with a reiteration of a broad statement that applies not only to the players but to everyone else in the venue.
“When you’re in a stadium and they broadcast that national anthem, you’ve got to stand,” the President said. “And you’ve got to be proud and you’ve got to have your hand up and you’ve got to do everything that’s right.”
We’ll see if the people who are quick to denigrate those who choose to protest are willing and able to adhere to the same standard, and we’ll see whether the President suggests that those folks maybe should live in a different country, instead of the country that ostensibly gives all citizens the freedom not to stand during the anthem.