Bryant Gumbel ended his show, HBO's Real Sports, this past Tuesday with a powerful monologue addressed to the "current occupant of the White House." Many sports-related figures have denounced the President's divisive comments surrounding NFL players kneeling in protest during the national anthem.
Those of us who have long focused on the intersection on sports and society have often wondered what it would take for today’s athletes to forsake the path of least resistance and actually stand for something. And now we know.
Last week, President Trump stated that any player who knelt during the national anthem was a "son of a bitch" who should be fired. His comments, which he repeated this week, have been widely criticized by sports figures.
The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2017
The NFL has all sorts of rules and regulations. The only way out for them is to set a rule that you can't kneel during our National Anthem!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 26, 2017
Reactions to Trump's comments have been mixed. The NFL announced ratings were up for last weekend's games, but DirecTV said it would give refunds to those who wanted to cancel because of the protests. It seems Trump seeks to divide America, and he's urging people to side with him rather than those who are protesting racial inequality.
...Bob Dylan famously said: ‘The times they are a changin’, and that's still true today ... as is the sad reality that certain things haven't really changed at all.”