Skip to comments.Trumpís clash with protesting athletes could be a turning point in pro sports (White players?)
Posted on 09/25/2017 3:55:23 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey was born into the Jim Crow South.For most of his childhood, he lived with his grandparents in rural Kentucky. His grandfather cleaned a local hotel at night but wasn't allowed to eat there during the day.
Casey, 60, remembers Klan rallies rolling through the centre of town. He remembers white parents standing at the door of his desegregated grade school, screaming at black students. He remembers all the worst things about the most divisive period in recent American history.
"I came through the sixties and seventies," Casey said. "And it's eerily getting back to that."
He was speaking as part of the Raptors' annual Media Day that took place on Monday. It's usually a very light affair a few laughs, a few new arrivals, a lot of, "I'm in the best shape of my life" talk.
U.S. President Donald Trump changed the mood this year. His splenetic outbursts over the weekend have galvanized professional sports or at least the faction of it that is his target.
It has been fascinating watching white football players trying desperately not to upset anyone neither their black teammates nor their white fans.
Though dozens and dozens of NFLers knelt on Sunday during the national anthem, precious few of them were white. Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers did manage to kneel on Instagram but not on the field. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady replied to Rodgers' photo with an arm-flexing emoji . It felt more like marketing than solidarity.
Thanks to the Pittsburgh Penguins' curious decision to announce, unprompted, that they will be going on a White House visit, the NHL has been forced to confront issues its players seem ill-prepared to address.
While the Raptors were speaking out forcefully and with one voice, across town poor Auston Matthews, all of 20 years of age, was in the Toronto Maple Leafs camp tiptoeing through a rhetorical minefield.
"I'm not really a huge politics guy, but obviously there's some stuff going on that's hard to miss and, um, yeah," Matthews said. "To me, I don't know if kneeling, sitting, stretching is really something I'd look into doing. To me, it's like a dishonour to the men and women who fight for that flag."
Though it took him a while to get there, Matthews said he would visit the White House. Hockey is thus far also speaking with one voice on this issue and I don't think their "good company man" approach is doing them any favours.
It is a bit of an unfair ask in Matthews's case. There is no circumstance under which the Leafs would be invited to a photo op with the U.S. President. But, overnight, this question has become the loyalty test of pro sports: Would you shake Donald Trump's hand? Whose side are you on?
As a Canadian franchise, the Raptors would probably not get that call either, but club president Masai Ujiri wanted people to know where he stood regardless.
"We get to go to two White Houses [in Washington and Ottawa], right?" Ujiri said. "I think we'll be fine with Trudeau."
Many people have been put through this purity trial over the past couple of days and there have been few surprises. Until Casey was asked.
"I'd love to go to the White House," he said. "That would be the players' decision, but myself personally, I'd like to go look the guy in the eye and let him see that I'm not the perception that he has. You can do things by example that may be a way of changing."
What would you say to Trump?
"I would just say that I've been through the sixties and the seventies and maybe he didn't mean to put a lens on the football players, but the majority of them are African-Americans," Casey said. "The perception is he said: You don't have a right [to protest], sit down, fire them. It looks like you're talking down to the African-American football player. That's what I would have a conversation with him about, man to man."
There are many remarkable things about what's happened over the past few days and one of them is the tone: As Trump goes low, the athletes stay high.
The worst any Raptor would say of their new antagonist-in-chief was DeMar DeRozan calling him "our so-called leader."
Casey was cutting in a more subtle way. While speaking of Trump, he did not once call him by name. Small courtesies matter to Dwane Casey and when he does not offer them, it says more than any insult.
We're still in the early stages of wherever this is headed, but the careful civility can't last. All of the American wounds that are usually papered over in pro sport by money, pomp and PR specialists are being reopened.
Eventually, everyone involved will have to address them. Choosing not to is its own sort of pronouncement.
We talk a lot about turning points in sport, but this may actually be one a crucible that forces all athletes to reckon with the world away from the court, the rink and the field. Maybe for the first time in quite a while.
Casey speaks with more authority than most on the subject because he has seen with his own eyes where division leads and has come through it with a spirit so generous that it is humbling to be around.
"Sports should be the glue that brings society together," he said. "That's what I use it for."
You can get so far down in the minutiae of these issues that, eventually, you're arguing semiotics what does kneeling mean? Who is this all directed at? Is it the office or the flag or the man or the military or the you can whittle this idea down to functional meaninglessness.
That's the real arc of history arguing around contentious issues and doing so endlessly. This great shaking in the sports world may just be more of that, to no real end.
But there is no debating who has the moral high ground in this particular fight. People are being asked to decide between Donald Trump's vision of the world and Dwane Casey's.
When you think of it like that, the choice gets very simple.
Horsecrap. We are being asked to choose between a liberal worldview and a conservative one. No brainer for anyone with a working brain.
I dont recall Trump ever saying they didnt have the right to protest but what they chose to protest was pretty stupid.
If politics has to be infused into every aspect of
American life then the chances of avoiding a new
civil war are slim and none. And Slim just left
Thank the liberals.
These poor black players need to be liberated from the oppressive “slavery contracts” by the “Team owners” my god these WHITE OWNERS, OWN THESE BLACK PEOPLE!!!!
It used to be picking cotton balls in a fields, now it is picking up balls on a AstroTurf field!!!
We need to demand that the NFL emancipate these poor Black Slaves so they can charter a private jet on the “underground airlines” and fly to the safety of enlightened Europe or Canada!!!!
Take a poll to see how big of an issue racism is. It’s not as big as the media would have you believe. Far rom it. Nowadays all you hear about is gays, sex, and racism. We are certainly being manipulated. Is this a racist country? I would tell the questioner to get out of my face.
I’ve been growing sick of the thug-like behavior for a long time. This is just the last straw on the camel’s back.
Standing for the national anthem isn’t taking “trump’s side”. Ive lived through some bad presidents and America has done things that I haven’t approved up but Ive never sat down for the National Anthem.
If the league can prevent Dallas from affixing a sticker on their helmets in support of the cops that were killed by that BLM freak, they sure as hell can prevent racist anti-American solidarity statements on the sidelines.
And Coach Casey sounds like a fool or a snowflake. Things aren’t at all like how they were in the 60s.
Maybe they should start their own all black league. We don’t need the ‘not for long’ league anymore.
When I see these pampered individuals dropping at the presentation of the National Anthem, about the flag still proudly and defiantly during attack, it is impossible to forget the hundreds of thousands who died in past wars defending the flag and the 28,000 who were grievously wounded and the 6,800 who died raising that flag proudly over Iwo Jima, bringing the country closer to victory over oppression and evil.
These spoiled NFL brats make me want to puke.
To Hell with the NFL.
You arrogant f**k. There is all kinds of debate about the so called 'moral high ground'. Being black does not give you moral high ground.
Must have missed the outrage of Ann Coulter being denied the right to speak?
Start a new NFL. The Negro Football League.
I have a boat load of things that tick me off about this country but there are adult ways of handling things. We have had a former president and presidential candidate who despise people like me. I would never take that out on my country because of two scumbags. I actually care more about blacks killing blacks than these clowns but their narrow minded infantile focus is skewed. I see no righteous cause for any of these fools be it Trayvon Martin,Michael Brown,Freddie Gray etc.
They can believe whatever they want and protest all they want the rest of the time. But when the national anthem is played, they can either show respect or they can go to the locker room. And to hell.
In a word, bullspit.
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