This weekend, Donald Trump made a reference to Colin Kaepernick’s protest of police violence against African American citizens, when Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem to the ire of many a conservative. Trump said, that if any player is going to kneel like Kaepernick did, they should get fired. In response, a great number of players from across the NFL took a knee or locked arms during the national anthem in solidarity against Donald Trump.
Now, I’m not a sports guy by any means. Heck, you’ll never see me review a sports game over on Press Start, unless I decide to do a random game spotlight on Supergiant’s Pyre. But one thing I do know from varied movies and history classes is that racial protest and sports have been a thing since before World War II. If we want to bring this back around to Nazis again, Jesse Owens became famous for winning four gold medals during the 1936 Berlin Olympics, rubbing Adolf Hitler’s nose in his failure on his own home turf.
It goes on like that, really. The three black athletes raising their fists in protest of lynching at the 1968 Mexico City games and Jackie Robinson’s perseverance through spirited racism to break segregation’s hold over professional baseball are two of the more famous examples. Someone with more to say on sports history might bring up a few more, but my point is that this isn’t exactly new.
What does need to be unpacked is the line that this “disrespects the veterans.” Honestly, I don’t think anyone kneeling directly intends to disrespect the veterans. My late grandfather, a Vietnam vet who lost his brother there, hates Trump exactly as much as I do, and would have been delighted to see large chunks of the NFL flip him the bird. It’s crystal clear exactly who was being disrespected here. Trump did start this on his own, after all.
Indeed, the one actor in this whole sordid play who has quite gleefully disrespected a veteran and his family in the past is Trump himself. Summer of 2016 now might as well have been summer of 1987 for us, but Trump spent the days following his nomination having a minor war with a Gold Star family that spoke against him. I guess every single conservative who voted for him and continues to support him left their memory of that behind with their values, consciences and spines.
But we know exactly why the Republicans didn’t side with that family despite the grand moral imperative to do so. It’s because that family, the Khans, were a family of Muslim immigrants from the United Arab Emirates. They weren’t the perfect archetype of the military family: white Christians who went to the same kind of rural church that I did, or celebrated the same holidays that I did. The Khans, despite their obvious sacrifices, were fair game for Trump to go after because they were viewed as “other” and therefore not worthy of being “American.” He felt it okay to employ stereotypes against them, claiming that Ghazala Khan wasn’t allowed to speak during the speech, when in reality she elected not to speak because she couldn’t bear to do so when she sees images of her dead son.
Because they’re not like us.
Stuff like this is the reason I genuinely hate Donald Trump. I hate him. With all my heart. And why his supporters, including members of my own family, disappoint me.
We should be better than this. And we’re not.
Logan Graham is a senior studying media arts with a focus in games and animation at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. How are you feeling about Trump's presidency? Let Logan know by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.