Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers feels it’s best to ignore President Trump’s critical comments on NFL players who protest during the national anthem.
“I think that the more that we give credence to stuff like that, the more it’s gonna live on,” Rodgers said in a lengthy interview with NFL.com’s Michael Silver. “I think if we can learn to ignore or not respond to stuff like that — if we can — it takes away the power of statements like that.”
Speaking of athletes battling Trump, Rodgers is also very supportive of LeBron James who Trump recently criticized on Twitter, after the NBA superstar said on CNN that it sometimes feels like the President is trying to bring the country back to “some kind of slavery or Jim Crow.”
Slavery was abolished in the United States in 1865, and Jim Crow laws, that legalized racial segregation in the South, were outlawed in 1965.
It’s unclear in what way James feels Trump could be taking the country to “some kind of slavery or Jim Crow.”
After James’ comments aired on CNN last Friday, Trump tweeted, “Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike (Jordan)!”
Rodgers feels that a lot of pro athletes have James’ back after Trump’s attack.
“[James] knows he has the support of his contemporaries,” Rodgers said about James, “in his own sport and in other sports.”
And Rodgers thinks it’s “beautiful” that James hasn’t responded to Trump’s tweet.
“Absolutely beautiful,” Rodgers said. “At a time where he’s putting on display his school, which is changing lives, there’s no need. Because you’re just giving attention to that (tweet); that’s what they want. So just don’t respond.”
Last week, James foundation opened a new school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio to help low-performing, at-risk students. The school is free and guarantees a college scholarship to the University of Akron to the students who graduate.
As for the anthem protests, begun by former San Francisco QB Colin Kaepernick in 2016 to protest police brutality and racial inequality, Rodgers thinks it patently unfair to label the movement as anti-military.
“I don’t know how many times we can say, as a player and as a group, how much we love and support and appreciate the troops, and the opportunities this country allows us,” Rodgers said. “But this is about equality and something bigger than ourselves, and bringing people together, and love and connectedness and equality and social justice, and putting a light on people who deserve to have the attention for their causes and their difficult situations that they’re in. You know, people have their opinion — you shouldn’t do it during the anthem, you shouldn’t do it during this — that’s fine. But let’s not take away from what the real issue is.”
The anthem protests have hurt NFL TV ratings and ticket sales, but Rodgers feels the league is going to be okay.
“Obviously, the league is worried about its ratings and everything, but it seems that with the distribution from the TV (networks) that everybody’s doing pretty well,” Rodgers said.