In another display of Executive Time in action, Donald Trump today blared back out on the field of the NFL and race relations to condemn New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees for apparently changing his mind on fellow players taking a knee in protest.
After already slobbering all over the memory of George Floyd and his death at the hands of Minneapolis police on Memorial Day in ill-considered remarks at the White House earlier on Friday, the former Celebrity Apprentice host took to social media this afternoon to stoke further fires of division:
…We should be standing up straight and tall, ideally with a salute, or a hand on heart. There are other things you can protest, but not our Great American Flag – NO KNEELING!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2020
Clearly looking for another wedge issue to fire up his base heading into the November election, the poll sagging Trump is basically banging on the same drum he did in 2017. Back in the first year of his administration, the former USFL owner repeatedly attacked Colin Kaepernick for the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback’s sidelines protest against racial injustice during the playing of the National Anthem. Trump also took to ridiculing the NFL for its changing policies on the issue, as it caught fire with many players and unveiled the ire of less than diplomatic owners.
“Wouldn’t you 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, out, he’s fired,” Trump bellowed to a rally in September 2017.
Echoing remarks he had made in the past over Kaepernick and other players making their opinions known, Brees on June 4 said that he “will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.”
With the nation reeling from the racist killing of Floyd and subsequent widespread protests against discrimination and police violence, Brees received a quick and pained reaction from fans, non-fans and fellow players like Saints teammate Malcolm Jenkins.
“I would like to apologize to my friends, teammates, the City of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday,” a seemingly contrite Brees wrote in response on social media yesterday. “In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused.”
“I wish I would have laid out what was on my heart in regards to the George Floyd murder, Ahmaud Arbery, the years and years of social injustice, police brutality and the need for so much reform and change in regards to legislation and so many other things to bring equality to our black communities,” the Super Bowl XLIV champion and sometimes Trump companion proclaimed in full damage control mode
With America opening up again from the coronavirus pandemic, the NFL have set an ambitious 2020-21 season set to start in September. The Saints’ first preseason game is penciled in for August against the LA Rams in the COVID-19 hard hit City of Angels.