Over the weekend, NFL players, coaches, and owners stood united. Many with arms locked, some kneeling, and some refusing to come out of the locker room during the national anthem.
It was a protest against President Donald Trump’s bashing of players who protest during the national anthem. He called them something we’re not comfortable saying on the radio, and said he’d like to see them fired.
Here in Detroit, Lions owner Martha Ford issued a statement denouncing Trump’s comments and joined the team on the sidelines in a sign of solidarity. Said Ford:
“Our game has long provided a powerful platform for dialogue and positive change in many communities throughout our nation.
“Thanks primarily to our players, the NFL also has been a unifying force in our country and impactful change has and hopefully will continue to be the result of peaceful expression, done so in order to highlight social injustices of all kind.
“Negative and disrespectful comments suggesting otherwise are contrary to the founding principles of our country, and we do not support those comments or opinions.”
The Detroit singer who sang the national anthem at Ford Field — Rico LaVelle — also took a knee at the end of the anthem and raised his fist in the air.
Even some NFL owners who supported Trump during the election condemned his comments publicly.
How do you feel about the sideline protests? Should the president even be weighing in on this issue — spending the bulk of his weekend on it? What is the role of sports in issues of politics, race, and inequality? Can players joining in solidarity despite political differences signify something bigger? Could this be something that will unite us or further divide us as a country?
To hear the conversation on Detroit Today, with guest and social activist Frank Joyce, click on the audio player above.