Of all the divisive things President Donald Trump has done in his nascent political career, picking a fight with the National Football League seems to be the one that is striking the loudest chord. After Trump called quarterback Colin Kaepernick a “son of a bitch” at an Alabama rally due to his choice to kneel during the national anthem, players and owners alike have voiced displeasure with Trump.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stated that Trump’s comments were “divisive” and demonstrate a “lack of respect.”
Trump doubled down on his statement, stating that fans should boycott the league. Keep in mind, this is the President of the United States.
The entire Jacksonville Jaguar team, including their owner, took a knee during the national anthem before Sunday morning’s game against the Baltimore Ravens.
The Pittsburgh Steelers demonstrated the biggest show of solidarity yet, as head coach Mike Tomlin explained to CBS Sports before his team’s game against the Chicago Bears. He explained his team’s rationale:
“For us, as a football team, it’s about us remaining solid. We’re not going to be divided by anything said by anyone. … Whatever we do, we’re going to do one hundred percent together. We’re not going to let divisive times or divisive individuals affect our agenda.”
Tomlin went on to explain how his team planned to do this:
“If a guy wants to go about his normal business and participate in the anthem, he shouldn’t be forced to choose sides. If a guy feels the need to do something, he shouldn’t be separated from his teammate who chooses not to. So we’re not participating today. … We came here to play a football game.”
The reporter asks if that means his team is staying in the locker room during the anthem. Tomlin responds:
“We will not be on the field.”
Rather than choosing divisive politics, the Pittsburgh Steelers decided to unify. Even if this decision is most likely one that the entire team does not agree with. Trump also angered members of the National Basketball Association by “uninviting” Steph Curry for questioning whether he should attend a celebration of his team’s championship at the White House.
While the President Twitter argues with professional athletes, the GOP is working to strip health care from millions of people.
Watch Mike Tomlin’s comments below:
Featured image via YouTube screen capture.