ESPN's Jemele Hill Comments on Possible Trump-Kaepernick Meeting

May 09, 2018May 09, 2018

ESPN columnist Jemele Hill claimed on Tuesday that the rumored meeting between President Trump and quarterback Colin Kaepernick is all for a "photo op." 

According to Fox News, Hill claimed that the lack of race-relations experts invited to the upcoming summit on the topic made her wonder what the event is actually about. She claims that the event, sponsored by the White House, isn't actually about stopping racial violence and prejudice in the country, but is rather to have a "photo op" for President Trump. 

“That to me made it seem as if this is really about a photo op. This is really about an optic to be able to say ‘oh look’ – especially you know midterms are coming pretty soon – to be able to say ‘oh look I sat down with x,’” Hill said. “… I think maybe the other part of it, too, is that if some of these musicians and athletes who have been critical of him, if they don’t show up, that will also be used as a chew toy for his base again to say, ‘See, I tried but this.’”

“There is something to say for Trump seeking greater understanding of complex racial issues, especially considering he has often come off as dismissive of the impact of racism on marginalized people and seemingly revels in encouraging intolerance,” she wrote. “But we’re a long way from giving Trump a cookie, as it can’t be forgotten how much Trump seemed to take a special delight in helping to torpedo Kaepernick’s NFL career."

According to Yahoo Sports, President Trump is very excited about a potential series of racial summits with Colin Kaepernick and Kanye West, among other figures. 

President Trump apparently wants to have two racial summits, one for musicians and another for athletes, in order to allow both sides to express their thoughts and opinions. In theory, these summits would help to bridge racial divides in America and, Trump hopes, help to unify the country. 

The summits would take place during the Summer of 2018, sometime between the end of the NBA finals and the beginning of the NFL season. 

It is unclear whether Kaepernick has been invited, although many suspect that he has been or will be. Currently, the former athlete is in the middle of a collusion suit against the NFL that directly involves President Trump, which might prevent him from being able to make an appearance at the White House. The details of the summit will be finalized next week. By that point, it will be clear if Kaepernick will be attending.

Kaepernick filed an official grievance against NFL ownership alleging a concerted effort by the 32 teams to expel him from the league. And in his grievance, he cited Trump's public call for owners to fire players who refuse to stand during the national anthem as a central factor in the owner's decision to expel Kaepernick from the field. 

The former quarterback of the 49ers has been unsigned since March 2017, far before President Trump made his remarks about firing players who refuse to stand during the anthem. Kaepernick believes that President Trump created a negative environment in which NFL owners felt compelled, against their will, to avoid public ire by refusing to sign him back.

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