Donald Trump vs. Sports
Nia Hampton | Monday September 25th 2017
Aww man. Donald Trump done fucked up now. Or has he? At this point in the saga that is the 45th Presidency of the United States of America, I’m starting to see Trump as an accidental mastermind of devastating proportions. The ease with which he can come through and confuse and redirect a protest is amazing. And Twitter is going down in history as the social media technology that facilitated it all. El Cheeto is warring with the NFL and the NBA. Two insanely large sport industries that also happen to be full of black men. Let’s get into the division and place bets on who will come out on top.
El Cheeto vs. The NBA
The NBA is black as hell. Like stereotypically so. The sport that people assume ALL black people know is basketball. But actually, the sport that ALL black people know really is basketball. It’s a hood staple and an urban past time. So when Stephen Curry showed his racial allegiance and declined his Championship visit to the White House, no one was really that surprised. Trump, being the dingle-berry that he is, took to Twitter to disinvite Curry who by the way ALREADY DECLINED a visit to the now tarnished White House. Lebron James, in a swift and spectacular show of camaraderie unleashed an infamous tweet in which he called El Cheeto a “bum”. And since then more and more NBA players have taken to the media to voice their disdain for the leader of the free world. The NBA is a sport in which black men have always had an overwhelming presence ever since gaining the right to play in 1950, only a short 4 years after the sport was founded. Also, the WNBA was kneeling and wearing black lives matter shirts, LAST YEAR. The culture surrounding the sport is undeniably black and every year its’ players, predominantly young black men, get wealthier, more self aware and autonomous. They are beginning to see how much influence they have not only on the sport but in the world and are doing really bold things with the power. However, because the NBA is already so decidedly black, I’m not sure how bold and deadly this blow will be to Trumps administration.
The NFL however, is another story.
El Cheeto vs. The NFL
The title of “America’s Favorite Past Time” has been informally and formally given to Football over Baseball, time and time again. The Super Bowl is one of the (if not the solely) most watched events in TV history annually. The sport appears to be slightly racially diverse because white men tend to be quarterbacks, but 70 percent of it’s players are black. Perhaps it’s the sheer brutality of the sport but for some reason, even the most racist of white men don’t mind watching black bodies hurl themselves at each other in pursuit of a leather bound ball. They do however mind when those same bodies peacefully protest police violence by kneeling during the National Anthem. August 2016, Barack Obama is still President and Colin Kaepernick does not stand for the National Anthem. It becomes a thing. Eloquent and solemn, Kaepernick makes it clear that he is protesting police brutality. People are confused and distraught, outraged by what they perceive as a lack of patriotism. Kaepernick would go on to be black balled from the NFL. Commentators and football players alike are divided. Unlike the NBA, NFL players seem to be mere pawns in the game, owned and operated by rich white men. Which is strange considering football players have the most to lose physically. Football players like Ray Lewis tell Kaepernick to end his protest and fall in line, only to later find themselves kneeling “in solidarity” when whole teams take knees or opt out of the anthem all together. Just this past weekend, Trump found himself upset that the NFL owners weren’t willing to fire the protesting players. (These are owners who funded his campaign by the way). And as football season gets under way, the entire league seems to be joining together in a convoluted protest. It started out to protest police brutality and is now becoming an Anti-Trump gesture. Both sentiments are timely and with well intentions but now the messages are mixed. I was under the impression that people were kneeling and boycotting the NFL in support of Kaepernick, who has yet to be placed on a team. But now, it seems people want to support the NFL, the same NFL that effectively ended Kaepernick’s protest by black balling him out of the league, by watching the games in support of the kneeling players.
And that’s why I say El Cheeto may be one of the best villains we’ve seen in a long time. He managed to effectively dilute and scramble a nearly perfect act of protest. Luckily, the only sport I watch is rubgy.
Graphic By Sophia Gach-Rasool