When NFL players, by in large, took a knee, linked arms, raised fists, or refused to show up on the field during the singing of the National Anthem on Sunday, a significant portion of our nation expressed support for their protest. But when two teams did it again at a game on Thursday, one ESPN host delivered a smackdown for the record books.
Thursday night at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the Packers and their rival, the Chicago Bears, linked arms in solidarity with the #TakeAKnee movement, according to CNN. Some fans linked arms as well.
The Packers released a team statement ahead of time, claiming that locking arms “will represent a coming together of players who want the same things that all of us do—freedom, equality, tolerance, understanding, and justice for those who have been unjustly treated, discriminated against or otherwise treated unfairly.”
But many fans did not appreciate the gesture, according to Fox News, including a black veteran who said, “I’ve been through two wars. I’ve seen a lot, lost a lot of friends, and that flag is actually something. To see that [protest] is a terrible thing, man. We should all stand for the flag. This is America! I’m a disabled vet. I took three shots for this country. I still stand for the flag.”
“I kneel for the Lord, and I stand for that flag,” commented a black woman.
ESPN’s “First Take” co-host Stephen A. Smith has had enough, too. He launched into a rant against the protesters on Friday.
“The locking of the arms, the kneeling during the National Anthems. I’m not going to lie to ya’ll. I’m going to confess — I’m tired of it,” Smith began. “And here’s the reason why. Number one, I want to get back to football. Number two, and more importantly than that, I want to know what the h*** we’re going to really, really do about it.”
And that’s when he went to the heart of the matter, saying, “Because as far as I’m concerned, the real issue at hand has been hijacked. When you talk about oppression, when you talk about prejudice, when you talk about brutality on the part of some police officers, and things of that nature, can someone tell me what specifically has been done to address those issues that Colin Kaepernick supposedly was directing our ire towards?”
“What actually has happened?” Smith asked. “I see NFL players coming together. To me, if they were coming together like this in the immediate aftermath of Colin Kaepernick, it would have resonated more profoundly. When Colin Kaepernick kneeled, you had a whole bunch of people that had nothing to do with it. They wanted no part of it. The only reason they even spoke about it was because the media was in their face asking them questions about it.”
“There were a few individuals who made their presence felt and took a knee in support of him, but by in large, these people weren’t speaking up in support of him,” he continued. “They only spoke up when President Donald Trump spoke out against the NFL last weekend. And to me, what that says is, it’s not about Colin Kaepernick. It’s about Trump. This is an anti-Trump protest.”
“OK, you’re free to do all that, but that’s going to create more division. It’s not going to bring about more unity. Because you have an abundance of people out there — 60 million plus — who voted for this man. Even more, tens of millions of people who support the conservative ideology that some people believe is attached to him. And, obviously, you have progressives who are significantly different, and we understand that’s what comes along with this country. But the problem is, it has invaded the National Football League to a point where the real issue has gotten lost.”
Watch his two-and-a-half minute spiel below:
What do you think of this? Meanwhile, Oprah has brewed a firestorm on the internet with a statement she just made about Trump.