With the National Football League’s 2017 preseason already underway, the protests against the United States during the playing of the national anthem are spreading.
Begun last season by former NFL player Colin Kaepernick, the protests consisting of raising a fist, kneeling, or simply staying seated during the playing of the national anthem, are continuing despite Kaepernick’s absence from the league.
NFL columnist for Bleacher Report and former Washington Post sports writer Mike Freeman, reports that up to five players have told him that they intend to continue Kaepernick’s anti-American protests through the 2017 season.
Freeman also noted that some of these players linked the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, to their continued anthem protests:
Texted with 5 players today who believe more will protest this season. Says league-wide outrage over Charlottesville, reaction from Trump.
— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) August 14, 2017
Of course, linking Trump to what happened in Charlottesville is clearly illegitimate. Whether you think he went far enough, or was specific enough, or not, President Trump clearly denounced the violence that occurred in Charlottesville:
We ALL must be united & condemn all that hate stands for. There is no place for this kind of violence in America. Lets come together as one!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2017
However, the protests in the NFL continue.
Both Lynch and Bennett have both praised and supported Colin Kaepernick’s actions during the 2016 season.
Without mentioning Kaepernick by name, Bennett recently slammed the NFL for hiring certain players but not others.
“There’s been guys who have criminal records, guys who have been accused of murder, guys who have been accused of rape and domestic violence who are still in the NFL,” Bennett said. “It’s crazy to see this guy not have an opportunity in the NFL. It’s just weird. I mean, some quarterbacks, as we all know, shouldn’t be playing, but they are, and this guy is sitting on the side. We all know why. It’s just hard to fathom that he’s not having a job this year.”
For his part, Trump has criticized Colin Kaepernick’s protests several times, not only as a candidate running for the White House but also as president.
Last August, for instance, Trump called Kaepernick’s protests “terrible.”
“I think it’s personally not a good thing, I think it’s a terrible thing. And, you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him. Let him try, it won’t happen,” he said to reporters during the campaign.
Last September Trump, also told “Fox & Friends” that he thinks Kaepernick has a “lack of respect” for the United States.
By March, after winning the White House, Trump noted that no NFL team had signed Kaepernick because they were afraid he would single them out on Twitter.
“There was an article today…that NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump,” Trump said to a cheering crowd during a rally in Kentucky. “You believe that? I just saw that. I said, ‘If I remember that one, I’m gonna report it to the people of Kentucky because they like it when people actually stand for the American flag.'”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.