Trump Takes On NFL: Numerous Players Speak Out Against Trump's Comments
President Trump's comments over the weekend drew responses from many NFL players and execs "who had not spoken before" on the issue, according to a front-page piece by Jonathan Tamari of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. Eagles S Malcolm Jenkins, who has raised his fist during the anthem the past two seasons, said, "We've got a lot of prideful guys in our league, and when you're pushed or come after ours, guys will respond. It's one thing to have a fan say something on social media, but to have high-ranking officials come out and single guys out, I think that's one of the things that let players know that their voices are needed" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 9/25). Jenkins added, "Everybody's saying the same thing: We need change. We want to be that vehicle to change our communities, and we need to use the platform that we have to do that. So, hopefully, people can begin to listen to some of those issues" (PENNLIVE.com, 9/24). More Jenkins: "This is a moment that will go down in history. It's up to our country to say where it goes" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 9/25).
Here are a sampling of what some NFL players and personnel were saying after yesterday's games about Trump's comments:
- Redskins CB Josh Norman: "What president? Not my president. He was chosen, true. But when a president acts like that, what do you say to that? That's not someone that stands with dignity, pride, respect, honor. ... Words are powerful. They can either unite you, or they can divide you. So what he said united us" (USATODAY.com, 9/25). Norman added, "This man is not welcome here in Washington, DC. Hope he's not around when I see him. ... He's not welcome. He picked on the wrong people" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 9/25).
- Ravens LB Terrell Suggs: "Non-violent protest is as American as it gets. We knelt with them today and let them know we are a unified front. There is nothing dividing us. I guess we're all sons of bitches" (ADAGE.com, 9/24).
- Browns QB DeShone Kizer: "I know for a fact that I'm no son of a bitch and I plan on continuing forward and doing whatever I can from my position to promote the equality that's needed in this country" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 9/25).
- Chargers DE Chris McCain: "Why you tweeting us, calling me an S.O.B.? My momma ain't no 'B.' She's a real woman. ... Our own commander in chief, this guy who we're supposed to lean on and who is here to protect us, clearly is not on our side. He's not" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 9/25).
- Dolphins OT Laremy Tunsil: "He called us sons of bitches? You're the president of the United States. You're not supposed to do anything like that. ... Now he's calling African-Americans sons of bitches because we're standing up for our rights. What's going on in America?" (PALMBEACHPOST.com, 9/25).
- Lions coach Jim Caldwell: "I've been in the league a little while, and I know the players in this league. There are no SOBs in this league. These are men that work hard, of integrity, they're involved in our communities" (MLIVE.com, 9/24).
- Giants DE Olivier Vernon: "I'm a first generation American. My parents aren't from this country. (But) all those remarks just built up and I think just last night, just hearing that, kind of struck a chord. ... So I just did what was necessary" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 9/25).
- Jaguars DT Malik Jackson: "We're unified and we all cared about the same thing. Any disrespect to our league or anybody who works in our league are not going to be tolerated" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 9/25).
- Chiefs WR Chris Conley: "We're not all the same person, we're not all ... gonna think the same way. But we can still support each other and come together for a common goal and look at the issues and make it better" (K.C. STAR, 9/25).
- Packers QB Aaron Rodgers: "On this team, we're going to keep choosing love over hate, unity over division, and that's what it was for us. ... Today was about using our platform to promote love and unity and acceptance and togetherness, and I hope we did that" (GREEN BAY PRESS-GAZETTE, 9/25).
- Bengals WR A.J. Green: "We've got to show the world that no matter what your background, or your skin color, that we can come as one and stand as one. That's what we did today" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 9/25).
- Saints coach Sean Payton: "I want that guy to be one of the smartest guys in the room, and it seems like every time he's opening his mouth it's something that is dividing our country and not pulling us together" (New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE, 9/25).