Why Should They Care?
Donald Trump was asked on Fox and Friends yesterday about his feelings about the kneeling in the NBA, and his response was predictable. He called it “disgraceful” and said that he “turned the game off when the kneeling started.” Additionally, host Brian Kilmeade said, “standing is the new kneeling.” This story obviously got some traction to the point that LeBron James was asked for his thoughts about it, to which he responded that he didn’t think NBA players would particularly miss his viewership.
Now, I want to say the quiet part out loud: THEY DON’T CARE. No one in the NBA cares about how Donald Trump feels about their social justice statements. Simply put, the players of the NBA do not respect Donald Trump views on their protest.
This might sound quite abrasive, so let me elaborate on why I’m saying this and why I’m saying it the way I am. For years, ever since Colin Kaepernick knelt during the singing of the National Anthem before NFL games during the 2016 and 2017 seasons, people have knelt to protest police brutality. Now, people believed that this was disrespectful to our country’s military and the men and women who’ve given their lives for our freedom. But the fact is that those soldiers died defending our right to protest, however we see fit.
Don’t just take my word for it, take theirs. Nate Boyer was a Green Beret and played in the 2016 preseason for the Seattle Seahawks. He advised Kaepernick that kneeling would be more respectful than sitting for the National Anthem. The important thing here is that kneeling actually wasn’t Colin Kaepernick’s original idea. He did it after a member of the U.S. Military told him to do it.
Back to LeBron and why the NBA doesn’t care about Donald Trump’s criticism. The fact of the matter is that the players are not going to take the word of a racist, misogynistic draft dodger who never took an interest in politics before becoming president over numerous members of the military who approve of the act.
Besides, this all comes back to our First Amendment rights, which clearly state that everyone has a right to say what they want and assemble how they want.
And then we have the whole anger aspect. It’s not a mystery that people are angry about the social and racial injustices going on in our country. They’ve been going on for decades, and now they’ve reached a boiling point. Obviously, this boiling point wasn’t reached without outside help, but the fact that there’s a pandemic going on and people are economically suffering en masse has made people ultra-sensitive to oppression. Additionally, the perception of Donald Trump simply isn’t good. He’s seen as a sycophant who’s only interested in furthering himself at the expense of everyone else.
The NBA is largely made up of players who came from the communities that are being hit hardest by the economic problems and social injustice that I’m speaking about. That’s why they don’t care about Donald Trump’s complaints. That’s why they kneel. It’s because, not only have their communities not received any help, but those communities have been subjected to even worse discrimination, both economically and socially.
Simply put, they’re pissed off. Everyone’s pissed off. In a less polarized world, the kneeling would be a conversation starter that would spark discussions about what should be done to address the problems at hand. Problem is that we live in an ultra-polarized world where, unfortunately, people, including publicly elected officials with the power to create change, would rather complain and argue rather than do something meaningful.
This is why LeBron James and the rest of the NBA won’t care about losing Donald Trump’s viewership. This is why this shouldn’t be a continuing story. It should end here. The NBA is tired of caring about what someone who doesn’t care about them thinks about what they do. And neither should you.