CBS Sports’ James Brown’s winning the Internet with his spot-on defense of the NFL protesters and his scathing comments on the White House’s response.
Throughout the weekend, the GOP’s president launched a volley of tweets deriding the NFL. He also petulantly rescinded his White House invitation to the Golden State Warriors NBA team after Steph Curry announced he didn’t want to go. Over 100 players across the nation responded early Sunday afternoon by kneeling, sitting, or locking arms as the National Anthem played before their games. The AP adds at least three team owners protested along with their players. Meanwhile, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ entire team made a statement by holing up in their locker room.
James Brown from NFL Today made an appearance on Sunday’s edition of Face the Nation, and had some harsh words for Donald Trump. First, host John Dickerson mentioned NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s statement from Saturday. Referring to Donald Trump, Goodell said, “Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL.”
John Dickerson then noted, “The response to the president’s comments has been pretty overwhelming from players, from owners.” He then asked his guest what he thinks.
James Brown replied, “Pretty much what you just articulated, John, that from the commissioner, owners, and players, they have uniformly and universally disavowed those comments.”
Here are three of the tweets James Brown and John Dickerson are talking about, just to remind us of why folks in the NFL are circling the wagons. Meanwhile, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said NFL players’ First Amendment rights to free speech only apply off the field where no one can see them. No wonder Brown and others are so furious.
Roger Goodell of NFL just put out a statement trying to justify the total disrespect certain players show to our country.Tell them to stand!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
…NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back U.S.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
James Brown’s scorching response to Donald Trump’s NFL protests comments hits the nail on the head.
“Leadership, John, is about being a unifier, if you will. And engaging in vulgar, profane references? to a group of young professionals who have been peacefully exhibiting their First Amendment rights is not the way to engage in civil discourse for the purpose of resolving longstanding, well-documented problems in their communities.”
He adds, “And all they’re aiming to do is to make sure that the first words of the U.S. Constitution, ‘We the people,’ is inclusive and they have those same rights and freedoms, John.”
But Donald Trump and the Republican Party that’s enabled him don’t see it that way. When they go on and on about their “rights” and their “freedoms,” they clearly only believe only some Americans deserve them. Meanwhile, it seems that many of their constituents want NFL players to just shut up and perform for them, and stop demanding that we see them and people in their communities as human beings.
— NYCLU (@NYCLU) September 23, 2017
John Dickerson then asked James Brown how he thinks the issues can “get resolved and keep from escalating.” Other than stopping people in power like Donald Trump from being racists, of course.
James Brown replied “There needs to be an inclusive discussion in inclusive groups, not in homogenous groups [with] all people the same ethnicity and color,” a veiled stab at a president who truly puts the “white” in “White House.”
"Disrespecting the national anthem & our flag should be reason for suspension or firing."
— Victoria Brownworth (@VABVOX) September 24, 2017
“I’m loving what coaches like Peter Caroll of the Seattle Sea Hawks have been doing,” He adds. “Or Stephen Ross, the owner of the Miami Dolphins. Their aim has been to hear the players, to understand. They may disagree with the manner in which they peacefully articulate their concerns, but at least they hear them.”
James Brown then gives a shout-out to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Bill Cowher noting, “[He] has said that as well, because it’s about a team-building effort. We’ll all benefit from that, John.”
CBS Sports’ James Brown excoriates the GOP’s president and praises NFL coaches for listening to their players.
And, as caught on an astute Twitizen’s cellphone camera, here’s James Brown again on NFL Today.
“The operative words: Civil Discourse with an emphasis on hearing … because the media has tended to focus on thinking it was a protest against the flag and the military, when that was clearly articulated by the players as not being the focus … And let me add … Players are overwhelmingly expressing concern on issues that are well-documented and long-standing ones that exist in communities of color, communities they come from. So to be dismissive, vulgar, and divisive with comments that reflect a lack of understanding is insensitive and, indeed, colonizing, does not serve the purpose of trying to honestly resolve problems, build bridges, and foster civil dialogue.”
He then goes on to say we need to approach race issues with “the most powerful four-letter word” we’ve got. “And that,” James Brown explains, “is ‘love.'”
— David Loughnot (@Loughnot) September 24, 2017
We’re only three weeks into football season, and the #TakeAKnee hashtag’s just getting started.
— . (@itsluisagibson) September 24, 2017
— J. Dice ? (@jdice03) September 24, 2017
— Nicki (@nickiknowsnada) September 24, 2017
Featured image: Video screengrab via CBS/Face the Nation.