The loose cease-fire between the NFL and the 45th President of the United States regarding the national anthem ended on Friday, and the battle has seen several volleys in the four days since then. Lost in the furor over the current rock-bottom tweet from Donald Trump — an attack on an elderly man who was knocked to the ground by Buffalo police and bled from the ear and has been hospitalized ever since — is the fact that he threw another log onto the renewed conflagration with the National Football League.
On Tuesday morning, the President retweeted this message from the chair of the American Conservative Union: “I will never buy another NFL ticket until they go back to playing football and stop dividing America.”
So who’s dividing America? The NFL, or the man whose former Secretary of Defense said last week that (wait for it . . . keep waiting . . . wait a little longer) HE’S DIVIDING AMERICA.
Players in the National Football League, most of whom are black, are reacting to recent events, events that underscore the message Colin Kaepernick tried to send in 2016. A message for which he sacrificed his career. A conscientious, peaceful protest aimed at waking America up to police brutality against minorities doesn’t amount to “dividing America.” Those who twist peaceful protests protected by the Constitution into political theater (by, for example, showing up at an NFL game where protests are expected to happen and then storming out and wasting more than 300,000 taxpayer dollars in the process) are dividing America.
I realize that plenty of you continue to double, triple, quadruple, and umpteenuple down because it’s hard to admit, “I was wrong.” But the evidence has become an avalanche; you’ve been played for nearly half of a decade by unscrupulous, opportunistic politicians, their enablers, and foreign elements intent on sowing chaos and division in American. And you’re still being played. And they think you’re too dumb to figure it out.
Will people object to this sentiment? Absolutely. And in this moment I frankly do not care. The world has changed in the last 15 days. The time for confronting hard truths is here. And the hardest truth of all is the tapestry of untruths that has been hiding in plain sight since he rode down a golden escalator nearly five years ago to the day.