The morning after several National Football League players renewed their national anthem protests against police mistreatment of African-Americans, as the NFL opened its 2018 preseason on Thursday, Donald Trump once again took to Twitter to attack the NFL players who staged protests, all of whom were themselves African-American, as the New York Times reported.
Trump on his Twitter account claimed that the players “are unable to define” what they are protesting against, and mocked the players’ protests by using sarcastic quotation marks around the word “outrage” to describe how he perceives the players’ actions. Players on the Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins raised fists during the playing of the national anthem before preseason games on Thursday, while two Dolphins players kneeled during the anthem, The Times reported.
In a Twitter message posted several minutes later, Trump seeped up his attacks, calling for NFL players who do not “stand proudly” during the anthem to be “Suspended Without Pay!” (Capitalization in Trump’s original.)
Previously, Trump has called for NFL players who stage protests during the anthem to be kicked out of the country, as the Washington Post reported, and called NFL players — again, almost exclusive African-American — who take a knee as an anthem protest “sons of b*****s.”
Trump’s attacks on NFL players appear to have spilled over into the Football Hall of Fame induction ceremonies on August 4, at which 41-year-old former Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots receiver Randy Moss was inducted while wearing a tie that listed the names of 12 African-American victims of police killings. According to a report by the news agency Reuters, Moss has received a flood of hate mail for wearing the tie.
“All of this hate mail I’m getting for wearing a tie and talking about the truth. But I can handle it because I’ve been dealing with racism my whole life,” Moss said, adding that while he had been widely congratulated by African-American players, he had received between 150 and 200 pieces of hate mail, many using racial epithets against him.
In an interview with the sports site The Undefeated, Moss said that in the current atmosphere, African-American athletes, despite the protests, are “terrified” to speak publicly on issues of social and racial justice.
“Athletes are scared right now,” Moss said in the interview. “A lot of athletes, most guys, don’t want to talk about this. They’re terrified for their careers. They’re terrified about losing their occupation, which is how they feed their families. Black athletes know they’re being treated a certain type of way. Most guys can’t really voice their opinions. They’re worried about getting the same type of treatment that Colin Kaepernick got.”
Kaepernick, a former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers who led the team to the Super Bowl in 2012, originated the anthem “take a knee” protests. He became a free agent after the 2016 season and remains unsigned, and as ESPN reported, is currently suing NFL owners for colluding against him, preventing him from obtaining an NFL job.