Rev. Al Sharpton joined Nobel Prize-winner and anti-apartheid leader Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Irish politician John Hume, poet Seamus Heaney, and far-left theorist Noam Chomsky when he received the James Joyce Award by the Literary and Historical Society of the University College in Dublin, Ireland for his achievements in civil rights.
Sharpton, 62, reportedly used part of his speech Monday to attack President Donald Trump’s criticism of American sports stars for kneeling in protest during the recitation of the national anthem as “the most despicable thing I have seen him do.” Sharpton also said, “for Donald Trump to act like this is a flag issue is to divert attention from how he is dealing with the issues that they are kneeling about.”
— Simon Carswell (@SiCarswell) September 25, 2017
During a rally for defeated U.S. Senate candidate Luther Strange — who lost to Roy Moore — for Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ vacated Senate seat earlier this month, Trump said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!”
Sharpton told the crowd at his award ceremony, “This is the same president, a few weeks ago, that when we saw neo-Nazis marching in Charlottesville, he said that there were some fine people on both sides but he calls the mother of pro athletes bitches. It is something that I think is beyond the pale.”
In addition to this, the Democrat — who worked with the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a youth — said race relations in the United Staes are “in as much peril now as we were when I was a kid joining Dr King,” echoing the majority of his fellow political party members opposed to the commander-in-chief.
Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Nobel Laureate and mathematician John Nash, economist Paul Krugman and author JK Rowling are past James Joyce recipients.
Sharpton also spoke with student leaders at the Trinity Historical Society:
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) September 26, 2017
In an opinion piece, the Irish Central’s Niall O’Dowd wrote, “The UCD Society that invited him should be ashamed of themselves” for awarding Sharpton. O’Dowd also questioned why the presenters of the award did not mention his role in the debunked Tawana Brawley case, in which a 16-year-old black teenager from New York lied about getting raped by six white men and having “KKK” written across her chest and “nigger, nigger” written across her stomach.
Brawley had even claimed one of her assailants was a white police officer.
At the time, Sharpton — who was a spokesman for the legal team and the Brawley family — said, “New York State is now the capital of racial violence.”
Embattled comedian Bill Cosby also came out in support of Brawley.
Veteran state investigator John Ryan helped crack the case, and then-New York State Attorney General Robert Abrams testified, “Those allegations are untrue. The people who made those allegations lied. Their outrageous, irresponsible acts have increased the atmosphere of tension between the races.”
It came out later that Ms. Brawley’s boyfriend reportedly said that she had faked the attack to avoid a beating from her mother for spending days with the boyfriend.
In a letter to the editor of the Irish Times, an Irish national wrote, “There are many deserving African-American civil-rights leaders that UCD could have chosen for this honour,” instead of Sharpton.
While fielding questions from students, the subject of President Trump’s potential reelection was raised. Asked if this was a possibility, Sharpton reportedly replied, “Yes, if we don’t organize.”
Sharpton appeared to be referring to the left’s so-called “Resistance” movement against Trump.