Friday, ESPN “First Take” co-host Stephen A. Smith said he was “tired” of the national anthem protests and linking of arms in unity, adding he is ready to “get back to football.”
Smith reasoned that Colin Kaepernick’s initial protest has been “hijacked” and the message has been “lost” because the protests are now anti-President Donald Trump, which he said just causes more “division.”
Partial transcript as follows:
The locking of the arms, the kneeling during the national anthems, I’m not going to lie to you all. I’m going to confess. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of it. Here is the reason why: number one, I want to get back to football. Number two and more importantly than getting back to football, I want to know what the hell we are going to really, really, really do about it.
As far as I’m concerned, the real issue at hand has been hijacked. When you talk about oppression, when you talk about prejudice, when you talk about brutality on the part of police officers, can someone tell me what specifically has been done to address those issues that Colin Kaepernick supposedly was directing our ire towards? What actually has happened?
I see NFL players coming together. To me, if they were coming together like this in the immediate aftermath of Colin Kaepernick, it would have resonated more profoundly. When Colin Kaepernick kneeled, you had a whole bunch of people had nothing to do with it, they had nothing to say, they didn’t want to do anything, they wanted no part of it. The only reason they even spoke about it was because the media was in their face asking them questions about it.
There were a few individuals who made their presence felt and took a knee in support of him, but by and large, these people weren’t speaking up to support him. They only spoke up when President Donald Trump spoke out against the NFL last weekend. And to me, what that says is it’s not about Colin Kaepernick, it is about Trump.
This is an anti-Trump protest. OK, you’re free to do all of that. But that is going to create more division. It is not going to bring about more unity because you have an abundance of people, 60 million plus, who voted for this man, even more tens of millions of people who support the conservative ideology that some people believe is attached to him.
Follow Trent Baker on Twitter @MagnifiTrent