LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Don’t blame the NFL for a divided country

Once again President Trump has hijacked an issue to make it all about himself and his base by fanning the flames of racial and patriotic division.

For me personally, the protests have been so watered down and taken totally out of context from what it was intended for; that even though I understand the purpose of the protests, I’m really tired of it now. The reason why I feel this way is because the majority of Americans don’t get it and couldn’t care less. I can see it!

Trump has cleverly made this about the disrespect of the flag and country to the point that now there’s even more division! This is a sad and dire time to see what’s going on in our country! We’ve gone so far away from the issues of why Colin Kapernick started the protest in the first plac, which was racial inequality and profiling and brutally from law enforcement.

He initially started his protest by sitting down during the national anthem until a Purple Heart veteran approached him about his appearance of disrespect for the flag and what it represents. Kapernick made it clear to that veteran that his protests was not to disrespect the flag, the country, or the veterans. In fact, he made that abundantly clear to not only the media, but to the whole country that it was not his intent! So he changed his stance and decided to kneel as a sign of reverence for the flag and what it represents, while at the same time, silently protesting — which is his 1st Amendment right to do so.

As for the NFL, nobody really stood by him and supported him. None of the NFL owners stood by him. Their only concern was for the shield and look of the NFL Let me just put it all on the table. The majority of these NFL owners backed Donald Trump by supporting him and even donated large sums of money during his campaign! There were a few players who did start to kneel in support of Kapernick. But the majority of the players didn’t really back him. They were afraid of their pockets — especially the owners. This is my case and point as to why everyone who’s protesting now doesn’t mean diddly!

All this is now is nothing more than an anti-Trump protest! This has nothing to do with what Kapernick started or his issues as to why he started his protest. Here’s why. As long as Donald Trump was attacking everyone else, such as the immigrants, the handicapped, John McCain, James Comey, Hillary Clinton, Jeff Session’s, his blatant disrespect for women, all of that was OK for the NFL owners who backed him in the beginning. But now Trump has knocked on the door of the NFL by telling the owners that not only should they fire the players who protest, but he also told Americans to stop watching the games and stop going to the games!

Now all the owners want to link arms with the players to show unity? Unity for what? For the issues that are still going on in this country? No! It is to protect the shield of the NFL! Now all the players are on board? Where were all the players when Kapernick first started his protest? Where were the NFL owners when Kapernick first started his protest? More importantly, why hasn’t one single owner stood up and signed Kapernick for a spot on an NFL team? We all know why!

So the reality is that although it has opened doors for discussion and awareness of the issues that plague this country, I don’t see anything that’s going on that is bringing us closer together as a nation! The participation of the owners and players would have had more validation if everyone backed Kapernick when he very first started! It has no validation and doesn’t mean anything to me now because it’s not genuine!

Like I said earlier for those who got lost, it wasn’t an issue as long as Trump was attacking everything and everyone else! But now he’s knocking on your door NFL! Now he’s messing with your ratings, your revenue, your money! So now it’s a problem?

Donald Trump may be over the top, arrogant, and yes even ignorant. But one thing Donald Trump is not is stupid! He can turn any issue to his advantage by turning it into to an opportunity for him! That is how he became president of the United States! He was underestimated by a lot of people! He can turn any issue around from what it was intended for and turn it into an advantage and opportunity! It pains me to admit this but the reality is his business savvy and experience makes him smart. This makes him a very dangerous person.

What really saddens me about all of this that is going on is, he is the president of the United States. He has the power to really unify this country but he chooses to divide this country. The sad thing is he doesn’t even care. Now he is using the NFL to divide us as a nation and it is really scary and sad! I’m not sure when or if we can recover from this latest tactic of division that’s going on now.

The protests are so far from what was intended for that I really don’t see any movement. It was indicative of the game between the Bears and Packers last week when the crowd was asked to participate in the linking of arms to show unity. Although there were some who participated, the majority of the people in the stands did not link arms in unity, only clarifying how divided we are as a nation! This confirms that Trump is the divider in chief.

As for now, he has succeeded in dividing us more at the expense of the NFL, while appearing to be strong and patriotic to the majority of his base. This is not about who’s more patriotic than who! Unfortunately, that is what Trump has made it about. My only hope is that we as Americans can see through that tactic of divisiveness and come together.

One of Trump’s campaign slogans was “We’re going to take our country back!” Really? Answer this question. If we are all supposed to be Americans? Then who are we supposed to be taking our country back from?

Francis A Bethel III

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