Who knew Donald Trump's rancorous remarks on Friday night would lead to a particularly heated weekend for football? While addressing the public in Alabama, Trump diverged from the original mission of his plan — to support Sen. Luther Strange in a primary election — and began issuing indirect yet profane insults at football player Colin Kaepernick. Trump harshly criticized the player's protest against police brutality. And over the weekend, Fox And Friends called the NFL protests "divisive," while describing the United States of America as the "least racist" country on the face of earth. Pete Hegseth, one of the show's hosts, said:
Look at those 12 teams immediately putting out a statement calling the president’s statement divisive! And you have to ask, what are we kneeling for at this point? Because you talk about social injustice. This is the least sexist, least racist, most free, most equal, most prosperous country in the history of humankind.
In order to see why exactly this tone-deaf Sunday segment from Fox And Friends Weekend is remarkable, it's worth remembering the exact words Trump passionately issued in Alabama on Friday night. "Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners," Trump said, "when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘get that son of a bitch off the field right now. He is fired. He’s fired!"
Interestingly enough, Trump's "son of a bitch" comment was not described as "divisive" by the show's hosts. Hegseth went on a sarcastic rant and said, "Of course, this is all premised on the fact that everyone says Donald Trump is a racist. So if you have a white supremacist in the White House, then you have free rein to do whatever you want, everyone should take a knee. This is a cultural battle right now."
Kaepernick became ensnared in the crosshairs of America's undeniably contentious relationship with race when he began protesting police brutality against black Americans and other people of color in 2016. During a pre-game preparation, the football player did not stand up for the American national anthem and later on explained his reason to NFL Media by saying, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
On the Fox And Friends Weekend show, however, neither context nor historical relevance of Kaepernick's protest was brought up. The three-host panel described players who were supporting Kaepernick against Trump's hostile commentary as "divisive" individuals who were supposedly unaware of anthem's value. Perhaps it would have helped if the hosts were made aware of the systematic inequality that plagues the United States not only in terms of race but also gender, religion, class, and more.
No such intervention was made on the show where the hosts chastised NFL players showing solidarity with Kaepernick. Hegseth continued to complain and lamented that the protests were contagious and spreading out to other venues of sports. "It’s infected the NFL and the NBA and and now we see it happen in Major League Baseball," Hegseth complained while taking note of MLB player Bruce Maxwell who took a knee during the national anthem and became the very first baseball athlete to do so.
Maxwell explained his reasoning for remaining on his knee and said, "To single out NFL players for doing this isn’t something we should be doing — I felt it should be a little more broad."