Some argue that professionals who are paid to do something in the eyes of the public should do only that. Meteorologists should just report on the weather, federal politicians shouldn’t try to influence legislation at different levels of government, et cetera. These people argue that if someone isn’t an expert in the field they should keep their mouth closed and move on; they’re not getting paid for it so they should leave it alone. This is where the freedom of speech law comes into play though: a private individual is allowed to share their opinions however they choose and shouldn’t be faulted for it. It is with this that the President of the United States has an issue.
The issue in question dates back to last season in the National Football League when then 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem as a peaceful protest against police brutality in America. This protest was seen as horrendous to many, as a slight on their great nation. Kaepernick intended only to bring the issue more into the public eye every week, and keep the conversation about police brutality and systemic racism going. This season Kaepernick is not playing in the NFL even though he easily has the talent for it; no team will sign him in order to avoid the negative press surrounding his protest.
President Trump commented on Kaepernick’s protest early this month, saying “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say ‘Get that son of a b—- off the field right now, out, he’s fired!'” This came as quite a contrast to the remarks he made earlier this year about white supremacists, whom he called “very fine people.” This week was the first time that NFL organizations have had the opportunity to respond to the President’s remarks, and nearly every team has shown some support. This ranged from players kneeling during the anthem, to players ignoring the anthem entirely, to teams joining each other arm in arm. Two teams, the Seattle Seahawks and the Tennessee Titans, even remained in their dressing rooms during the anthem.
President Trump has also called for the resignation of ESPN anchor Jemele Hill. Hill posted on her own private Twitter account that President Trump was a “white supremacist” and “a bigot.” This was responded to by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders who said that this constituted a “fireable offence.” ESPN has since taken measures to distance itself from Hill, and reminded all of their employees that their job is to report on sports news.
President Trump also recently took a shot on Twitter at NBA star Stephen Curry, of the Golden State Warriors. Curry has criticized Trump in the past and was said to be hesitant about visiting the White House as a representative of the NBA championship team. Trump then tweeted and uninvited Curry. Another NBA superstar, LeBron James, then tweeted and attacked the President right back, calling him a “bum”, leading to one of my all time favourite press releases, from Warriors head coach Steve Kerr. Kerr explains that he doesn’t have the right qualities to be the President of the United States, and instead has qualities that make him a good coach: patience, composure, and the ability to be criticized.