Trump Makes Controversial Comments, and the Sports World Reacts

After Trump made comments at a campaign rally in Alabama this week for Senate Candidate Luther Strange in regards to NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, the sports world was filled with varying reactions. Here are some of them, listed in no particular order.


Robert Kraft

  • Who is he? Owner of the Patriots
  • Why does his reaction matter? Donald Trump and Robert Kraft are close friends, meaning his opinion on the matter could potentially have an impact on the President’s viewpoint.

“I am deeply disappointed by the tone of the comments made by the President on Friday. I am proud to be associated with so many players who make such tremendous contributions in positively impacting our communities. Their efforts, both on and off the field, help bring people together and make our community stronger. There is no greater unifier in this country than sports, and unfortunately, nothing more divisive than politics. I think our political leaders could learn a lot from the lessons of teamwork and the importance of working together toward a common goal. Our players are intelligent, thoughtful and care deeply about our community and I support their right to peacefully affect social change and raise awareness in a manner that they feel is most impactful.”


Alejandro Villanueva

Who is he? An NFL players for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and an army ranger who served three tours in Afghanistan.

Why does his reaction matter? He was the only person on his entire team to come out of the locker room for the national anthem.

In an interview with ESPN back in 2016, he discussed Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during the anthem as “[unsure] if the most effective way is to sit down during the national anthem with a country that’s providing you freedom, [and] providing you $16 million a year.” He will most likely butt heads with his coach, who encouraged players to “remove [themselves] from the circumstance,” of dealing with the moment.


Bruce Maxwell

Who is he? A new catcher (aged 26) to the Oakland Athletics.

Why is his reaction important? He is the first MLB player to ever kneel during the singing of ‘The Star Spangled Banner’.

It is shown in the photo that he is still has his hand over his heart, but the “kneeling [is] for the people don’t have a voice,” he says. Maxwell has also made it known that he will continue to kneel during the anthem.


The Crowds

Who are they? These are the ones watching the football games, and who the NFL makes much of their money from.

Many sources, ranging from newspapers to eyewitness accounts show crowds booing at the players who did not stand up during the anthem.


All of these protests leave an interesting question on table. And that is if free speech belongs in the world of spectator sports. Or maybe even the workplace in general? It all depends on how you look at it. The First Amendment gives everyone the right to express their opinions freely. On the other end, is it always appropriate to use a platform for political or social action, simply because someone can?


Photo sources: The Boston Globe, the Associated Press

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