Comments more barbaric than presidential

By Paul Sassone

Paul Sassone

He attacks congressional leaders of his own party.

He demeans his secretary of state by calling his diplomatic efforts with North Korea a waste of time.

Just who can President Donald Trump get along with?

Pro football players, I would have guessed. Football players are macho, swaggering, manly men. Exactly how Trump seems to view himself.

But where football players draw blood, Trump makes his opponents stream red ink. Hit. Hurt. And above all, win.

So, I was surprised when the President sank his Twitter teeth into professional football players.

Then — as it too often does — race got in the way of what should have been a beautiful relationship.

Many pro football players are black. And though rich and famous, how many times have we heard African-American football players relate how they have been racially profiled, stopped by police for no apparent reason other than the color of their skin? How much worse is this treatment for young, black men who are not rich and famous?

To call attention to the still-existing disparity between the promise of America — all men are created equal — and the frequent reality of America, some black football players sent a message by kneeling, not standing, during the National Anthem — a quiet, nonconfrontational way to make a point.

Of course, the gesture caused controversy. But, the freedom to be controversial is one of the glories of America.

Like many controversies this one had just about played out when President Trump decided to pour gasoline on the smoldering embers. He intentionally re-ignited the issue in a speech to his faithful,

calling kneeling players SOBs and demanding they be fired.

Why did he do it? Why seek to crudely divide instead of unite?

Was the President trying to score points with the white supremacist portion of his supporters? It’s difficult not to think so.

The less-covered angle to this sorry episode is President Trump’s desire that pro football players come to physical harm.

Evidence is strong that a lifetime of blows to the head is causing severe brain damage to football players.

Scientists, legislators and the National Football League are seeking ways to make football less dangerous through improved equipment and better rules and procedures.

President Trump has interjected himself into this life and death issue. He said efforts to minimize injuries by limiting or outlawing some ways of hitting is “ruining the game.”

Better to ruin the players instead of the game, I guess.

“Presidential” is not the word I would apply to this attitude.

“Barbaric” fits, though.



–Comments more barbaric than presidential–