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Debate About Trump: Why Does He Do It?

September 25, 2017
Plain English Version

Tom Brady locked arms with teammates during the national anthem before the game against the Houston Texans on Sunday. Credit Steven Senne/Associated Press.

Most Americans love to sing the National Anthem at ball games. For one reason, it means the game is about to start. For another reason, Americans are patriots.

But what if you have a reason not to stand and sing? What if you want to say something about your feelings about America?

Well, that is your right as an American. Others may not like it. And they are free to cheer or boo your actions.

Enter President Trump. He spoke to a crowd of supporters in Alabama. He said a few things about football players who protest by kneeling on one knee during the singing of the anthem. He 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. He is fired. He’s fired!’

There is a difference between people just talking and the U.S. president making a speech. Trump started a firestorm. Players, coaches, and National Football League owners reacted to his outburst. For the most part, they said the president was divisive. They condemned his remarks.

Things got hotter when Trump tweeted remarks about the Golden State Warriors basketball players. They are the championship team of the National Basketball Association. Some of them said they did not want to go to the White House for a traditional visit. The president then disinvited them. One of the biggest stars of the game tweeted “U bum” about Trump.

Most of the athletes in the N.F.L. and the N.B.A. are black. Their kneeling was a protest about social justice. Black people, they say, are too often the targets of the police. And in general, they say, black people are victims of racial discrimination.

Sports fans include people of all colors. But since most of America is white, most fans are white. And while football is a big sport, it is biggest in the South. Trump found an adoring audience in Alabama.

So is this all about stoking racial differences? Some observers see it that way. Trump won the presidency with white voters. He wants to maintain his hold on them. Is this noise about kneeling just about distracting people and the press away from Trump’s problems? What problems? The repeal of Obamacare may fail again in the Senate this week. Many critics are saying his speech to the U.N. about North Korea created more problems than it solved.

President Trump went to Alabama to support a candidate for the U.S. Senate. Maybe that candidate will lose the election on Tuesday. No matter, it keeps all the attention on Trump.

In the end, maybe that is what it is all about.

Source: The New York Times September 24, 2017

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