Trump Opens His Filthy Yapper About the NFL's Terrible New Anthem Policy

[Content Note: Silencing; racism; othering.]

Yesterday, the NFL announced a horrendous new rule targeting player protests during the national anthem, which "allows teams and the league to impose discipline for those who protest publicly during the song. The new policy, announced after a two-day meeting of the league's 32 owners, leaves it to individual teams to discipline players for acts deemed disrespectful during the anthem but also gives the league wide discretion to fine teams for actions taken by players."

The "compromise" is that players can stay in the locker room during the anthem, without punishment.

First, a couple of thoughts about the rule itself:

Defenders of this garbage can try to spin it any way they want, but the fact of the matter is that it's a policy designed to silence Black players and their allies who are using their visible platform to protest state-sanctioned violence against Black people.

Last night, Mike Pence weighed in, saying he considered the new policy "winning." And this morning, in an interview that aired on Fox & Friends, Donald Trump turned it up to 11, objecting even to the crappy locker room option and suggesting that players who take a knee during the anthem maybe "shouldn't be in the country."
Trump said he objected to a provision in the new policy that will allow players to stay in the locker room while the song is played, but added: "Still, I think it's good."

"You have to stand proudly for the national anthem [or] you shouldn't be playing, you shouldn't be there, maybe they shouldn't be in the country."
Let's be very clear about what Trump said here: He is suggesting that people who protest state violence (police killings) should be removed from the country; that their citizenships should be revoked.

Defenders will say, as they always do, that he was "joking," or that he was being hyperbolic to make a point, or it's just Trump being Trump, or what he really meant was that maybe people who don't like America should leave and go live somewhere else.

No. No.

It is entirely unacceptable for the President of the United States to suggest, in any fashion, that people exercising their rights risk no longer being part of this country's citizenry.

And it is equally as unacceptable to pretend that Donald Trump could have meant anything less than that, given the context of his nativist and white supremacist and authoritarian agenda.

What he said was a threat. And we cannot Occam's Big Paisley Tie it into anything less. The urgency of this threat demands that we acknowledge it for precisely what it is.

We cannot comfort ourselves by imagining that Trump meant something other than what he did.

Not now, not ever.

The inclination to give Donald Trump the benefit of the doubt, to extend him good will and good faith he doesn't deserve, to make all manner of excuse and explanation for his extremist ideas to convince oneself and others that he couldn't possibly really be saying what he seems to be saying is what has brought us to this point.

No more.

Trump has an exceptionally narrow view of who "belongs" in the United States, and he has now signaled that he does not believe people who engage in visible protest are among those who belong.

Let us discuss that honestly, and respond accordingly.

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