Many LGBT people and allies are among those reacting angrily to Donald Trump’s dissing of NFL players who kneel during the national anthem to protest racism, and to his criticism of NBA stars as well.
At a campaign rally for U.S. Sen. Luther Strange in Alabama Friday, Trump denounced football players who, following a practice started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, fall to one knee during the anthem. He asked the crowd if they’d “love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired’?”
He doubled down Sunday, tweeting that fans should boycott NFL games until owners fire or suspend players who take a knee. And his Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, said Sunday on ABC’s This Week that players can exercise their free speech rights off the field. Trump also said he was rescinding the White House invitation for the NBA champion Golden State Warriors because of star player Stephen Curry’s opposition to him.
At a panel discussion in New York City promoting the return of Will & Grace to television, Entertainment Weekly editorial director Jess Cagle asked co-creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick how they’d feel if Trump called them “son of a bitch.”
“I guess I would rather be a son of a bitch than the son of someone who was arrested at a KKK rally,” Kohan responded, according to EW. There was “rapturous laughter from the cast and audience,” the publication reports. Mutchnick added, “What he said. I’m not going to beat that.”
Trump’s father, Fred, was reportedly arrested during a clash between the Ku Klux Klan and police at a Memorial Day parade in New York in 1927. Fred Trump wasn’t charged with a crime, and a contemporary newspaper account of the incident said he “was dismissed on a charge of refusing to disperse.” Donald Trump has denied his father was arrested.
Chris Kluwe, the straight former NFL player known for his outspoken support of LGBT rights, had strong words for Trump during a CNN interview Sunday (watch below). “Well, I think that the players and the teams are saying that they are not going to be dictated to by a racist, fascist white supremacist who currently occupies the highest place in our government,” he told host Frederika Whitfield. “When you look at what Donald Trump has said about speaking out against Nazis, I think it’s fantastic that players and owners are now taking a stand in using the platform to speak out against this because this is not what America is.”
Out tennis legend Martina Navratilova tweeted the following:
Donald Trump Can't Stop Attacking Black Sports Figures-stick to sports, donald? Let me think about it- nope, never:) https://t.co/HQQo9XwSRB
— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) September 24, 2017
This came from black gay activist Keith Boykin:
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) September 24, 2017
This from out sportscaster and political commentator LZ Granderson:
Final thought: this is the 2nd time in about a week the White House suggested private citizens be fired for exercising 1st Amendment right
— LZ Granderson (@Locs_n_Laughs) September 23, 2017
And from the ever-reliable George Takei:
Donald says taking the knee disrespects those who fought for freedoms we enjoy, yet he wants to deny players' 1st amendment right to do it??
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) September 24, 2017
Many NFL players, some owners, and commissioner Roger Goodell have condemned Trump’s comments, as have numerous NBA players. Players with several NFL teams knelt during the anthem today, like members of the Buffalo Bills, pictured above. And players for the Seattle Seahawks and Tennessee Titans stayed in the locker room during the performance of the national anthem before today’s game in Seattle. The Seahawks players released this statement:
— Seattle Seahawks (@seahawksPR) September 24, 2017