Donald Trump got mad this weekend.
And then everybody else followed suit.
Social media went crazy. LeBron called him a bum. The Golden State Warriors’ White House invitation was rescinded, even though they were never going to go in the first place. More NFL players than ever before decided to protest by kneeling or sitting during the national anthem on Sunday. And NFL owners, along with commissioner Roger Goodell, released statement after statement siding with players, and against Trump.
But the one thing that most people seemed to look past was the fact that it took all of this to get people talking.
Why did all of this have to happen for most of America and NFL owners to get to this level of frustration with Trump?
Which is why this weekend wasn’t necessarily one of unity, it was one that just showed us once again how great the divide is between the woke, and the ones who are still voluntarily sound asleep.
Donald Trump isn’t the problem here; it’s the fact that enough people believed that the most unqualified person in American political history should have been handed the keys to the Oval Office.
Trump is who he’s always been.
But when he decided to come after Steph Curry, NFL owners and sports as a whole, it was just too much for the majority of the country to put up with.
Sports has always been a barometer for change in terms of social issues and racism.
(Jeffrey T. Barnes/AP)
But to that I say:
Why wasn’t it too much when he admitted to grabbing women by the p—y?
Why hasn’t his decision to continually ignore what’s happening with the water in Flint, Mich., too much?
Why wasn’t Charlottesville too much?
Why isn’t it too much that he’s not paying any attention to Florida or Houston as they try to rebound after a hurricane, or the complete disregard for Puerto Rico?
Why is the fact that he has us on the steps of a nuclear war not too much?
Because those things, apparently, don’t grab everyone’s attention in the way that sports do.
More than anything, this weekend held up a mirror to America and showed us what we really care about, and just how important of a role sports play in it. Sports have always been a barometer for change in terms of social issues and racism.
Donald Trump has made the wedge between the left and right even bigger.
(BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
“We all know what happened with Charlottesville, and the divide that it caused,” said LeBron James in a video he released on social media this weekend. “And now it’s even hitting more home for me now even more because he’s using sports as the platform to try to divide us. We all know how much sports brings us together, how much passion it has, how much we love and care, and the friendships and everything it creates. And for him to try to use this platform to divide us even more, is not something I can stand for. And it’s not something I can be quiet about.”
From Jesse Owens to Muhammad Ali, and now to Colin Kaepernick, sports have always been an important device to bring people together, while also showing us how much further we have to go.
This past weekend was another one of those moments, as we saw the beauty of people of shades of color coming together to stand against a man who has always wanted to tear us apart, while also reminding us that there are things a lot more important than a game that deserves our attention and outrage.
Make no mistake about it, race is at the core here. Between ESPN’s Jemele Hill, Kaepernick and Curry, Trump has only gone after Black people who have either called him out, or done something with which he hasn’t agreed.
He’d rather refer to the mothers of Black protestors as b—–es than to call out neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
But that’s what happens when you elect a bigoted bully to the White House.
To some, all they saw this past weekend were a bunch of spoiled, ungrateful and rich athletes whining and disrespecting their flag.
But what was actually happening was a group of Americans using their platform to give a voice to the people this country loves to ignore.
This weekend held up a mirror to America and showed us what we really care about, and just how important of a role sports plays in it.
(Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
In 1955, James Baldwin said, “I love America more than any other country in the world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”
Sixty-plus years later, Baldwin’s words still ring true and are why we’re at this particular moment in history.
And for anybody that wants this all to go away, it won’t, even if Kaepernick eventually lands on a roster.
Systemic racism, police brutality and inequalities can’t be solved by the signing of a contract, and if you don’t understand that by now, then you probably never will.
Donald Trump made the wedge between the left and right even bigger this weekend.
We know how history will remember him.
But the real question is, how will it remember you?