President Trump has become tied up in yet another “controversy,” this time regarding well-paid sports players not showing enough respect to the national anthem and to the country that has provided them them immense opportunity. For the entire weekend, the top trending stories have all been about reactions to the President’s put-downs from a variety of famous athletes. And of course, the vast majority has been negative resulting in a Take A Knee day across the country.
President Trump is right on this one, but perhaps NOT for the reasons he thinks. Former Green Bay Packer Eric Matthews told CNN.
“They are not taking knees because of our flag and soldiers, they are taking a knee because of what’s going on in our neighborhoods. I think that keeps getting missed,” Matthews said. Perhaps it is getting missed because the disrespect seen in the method of protest overshadows the message. Assuming there is a real message there in the first place with any validity behind it.
When questioned about the athlete’s motives for their taking a knee or sitting out the anthem, they claim it is a protest to highlight racial inequality and institutionalized racism in America. So the question is: are they complicit hypocrites or just lying? Let me explain.
If there is, in fact, institutionalized racism in America, then by the very word “institutionalized” this must mean that it has been around for a very long time.
President Trump has only been in office for around eight months, if there is actually institutionalized racism, then it was around long before he became President. This means that these “heroes of the community” and “role models” have been purposely ignoring institutionalized racism and inequality for most of their careers. Or did they only just notice it?
During the Obama era, the institutions that they claim are racist must have been racist, yet they did not protest. The inequality must have been there, but they did not speak out. This is the problem with claiming that the racism is institutionalized, it makes them hypocrites from benefitting from a system and staying silent. Or it could be that they are just wrong and that institutionalized racism does not actually exist. In which case, we should be questioning their motives.
As Ben Shapiro points out rather eloquently, thus far, no one has been able to point to a verifiable case of institutionalized racism. Yes, there are instances of racism, but they are neither systemic nor institutionalized. Claiming to “feel” that it exists does not make it so.
We are left with the initial position. If there is institutionalized racism, then these NFL and NBA players are guilty of ignoring it and/or being complicit in covering it up, UNTIL NOW. And if institutionalized racism doesn’t exist, they are just ignorant, lying or “virtue signalling” because that is the en vogue, politically correct thing to do these days. Either way, President Trump is right.
Mark is a political writer and journalist who has worked on campaigns for Brexit.