Trump’s war on American football, update

This video from the USA says about itself:

First NFL Game since Donald Trump Blasts Player Protests.

24 September 2017

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

In defiance of Trump threats, US athletes protest police repression

25 September 2017

Hundreds of National Football League players took part in symbolic protest actions against police violence Sunday, kneeling or sitting during the playing of the US national anthem before professional football games, or locking arms with those who did.

Dozens of players have been taking part in such protests since the beginning of the season, angered by the continuing police shootings and killings and expressing particular concern over the disproportionate police violence directed at minority youth. Three quarters of NFL players are African-American.

The protests escalated Sunday in response to the intervention of President Trump, who, in the course of a Friday night campaign appearance in Alabama, vilified the protesters with an obscenity and called on NFL owners to fire any player who refused to stand at attention during the playing of the anthem.

Many teams met Saturday night or Sunday morning to decide on a response, and at every game the participation by players increased from previous weeks. Those who did not kneel or sit stood with arms locked behind the protesters, supporting their democratic right to voice their political views.

At least three teams effectively boycotted the playing of the national anthem, deciding to stay in their locker rooms until the ceremony was over rather than publicly show division between those who kneeled and those who stood behind them.

The sentiment among the players to defy the president was so overwhelming that coaches, owners and even NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell were compelled to rebuke Trump for his demand that public dissenters be fired on the spot.

No less than six of the 32 owners, most of whom are right-wing billionaires, made contributions of $1 million or more to Trump’s inauguration committee. One of the sharpest rebukes came from Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots and a longtime Trump crony.

He said he was “deeply disappointed with the tone of the comments made by the president”, concluding, “Our players are intelligent, thoughtful and care deeply about their community, and I support their right to peacefully effect social change and raise awareness in a manner they feel is most impactful.”

There is much hypocrisy in the statements of Goodell and the owners, since they have carried out a de facto blacklisting of Colin Kaepernick, the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, who began the protest against police violence last year.

Despite finishing as one of the top 20 quarterbacks in the league, statistically, in last season’s play, Kaepernick has not been able to find a job with any of the 32 teams. Some owners with teams struggling with poor quarterback play have openly said they would not bring Kaepernick in under any circumstances because of his political views.

The protests resumed this season, with fuel added to the fire not only by continuing police killings and the racist rampage by neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, but also by a racist police attack involving Michael Bennett of the Seattle Seahawks, who was assaulted by two cops outside a Las Vegas nightclub.

Trump combined his diatribe against Kaepernick and other protesting football players with a public fight with Stephen Curry, the star point guard for the National Basketball Association champion Golden State Warriors and the NBA’s most valuable player in 2015 and 2016.

After Curry was quoted Friday saying he was reluctant to participate in a team visit to the White House to receive congratulations on their championship, the White House disinvited him, a slap that touched off hundreds of hostile tweets and statements from NBA players and other athletes. Notable was Curry’s top rival, LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who denounced Trump as a “bum.”

For the Trump White House, the clash with professional athletes, the vast majority of them African-American, is a deliberate effort to whip up racial tensions and appeal to the same fascistic forces who rioted in Charlottesville. At the time, Trump praised the ultra-right provocation as including “very fine people”.

Trump curses at football players peacefully protesting racism and police violence, demanding that they be fired, while he has kind words for violent neo-Nazis who killed a young antifascist demonstrator in Charlottesville.

Adding to the backwardness of Trump’s assault was his tweeted demand for even greater violence in National Football League games. He denounced the NFL for its very modest efforts to reduce the number of concussions and other severe injuries by penalizing helmet-to-helmet and other risky collisions.

This tweet came the same day as a report that the autopsy of former star NFL tight end Aaron Hernandez, who committed suicide in prison at the age of 27, while serving time on a murder conviction, had found an extreme case of CTE, the brain disease suffered by hundreds of NFL players over the years because of repeated head injuries.

Particularly noteworthy is the attempt by the Trump administration to present the protests over police violence as disrespectful of the US military. The NFL players have made no such connection, for the most part having no clear understanding of the connection between US imperialist violence abroad and the carnage in American cities.

But the Trump administration itself is well aware of the connection. And it is particularly unsettling to the ruling elite that expressions of social anger and protest erupt at professional sporting events, which have long been used to promote chauvinism and militarism.

Twenty-five years of unending warfare abroad have had domestic consequences. A police force that has always functioned as the last line of defense for capitalist property and privilege has been repeatedly reinforced by recruits drawn from the military, trained to view the entire civilian population as a threat.

Moreover, police departments have been systematically equipped with “surplus” military weaponry, from automatic weapons to armored cars, tanks and helicopters, put on display against anti-police protesters in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014. Only a few weeks ago, the Trump administration rescinded an Obama-era order that limited such shipments of equipment, issued after public outrage over the militarized response to the Ferguson protests.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin expressed the full class arrogance of the billionaires who constitute Trump’s real constituency when he made an appearance Sunday on the ABC interview program “This Week.” He flatly defended Trump’s call for NFL owners to fire players who engage in public protest before games.

Speaking like the corporate boss he was for decades, on Wall Street and in Hollywood, Mnuchin said the players had no democratic rights in the workplace. “They have the right to have their First Amendment off the field,” he said. “This is a job.” The issue was not democracy, he continued, “This is about respect for the military, the first responders.”

THE NFL TAKES A KNEE: Dozens of NFL players demonstrated by taking a knee during the national anthem on Sunday following President Donald Trump‘s criticism on Friday against athletes that kneel. The Seattle Seahawks sat out the anthem, while the Pittsburgh Steelers also stayed off the field. The owner of the Jaguars, who is a Trump donor, linked arms with his players and called the president’s remarks “divisive.” Trump, insisting his criticism had nothing to do with race, called for an NFL boycott to stop the protests. [HuffPost]

Now Even National Anthem Singers Are Taking A Knee In Protest. Performers at at least two games took part in league-wide protests this weekend: here.

Tom Brady Criticizes Trump Over ‘Divisive’ NFL Comments. The New England Patriots quarterback has generally been on good terms with Trump: here.


Donald Trump’s war on American football, basketball

This video from the USA says about itself:

Trump Declares War on Colin Kaepernick, NFL and NBA Athletes

23 September 2017

With our neighbors to the south, Mexico, recovering after getting hit with a series of earthquakes, and Puerto Rico still dealing with the effects of Hurricane Maria, Donald Trump spoke to the crowd at a campaign rally for “Big” Luther Strange in Huntsville, Alabama on Friday about offering a helping hand to those in need.

Man, who are we kidding? Instead, Trump attacked the NFL players who protest racism and police violence by not standing during the national anthem. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when someone disrespects our flags to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now! Out,” he said. “He’s fired! He’s fired!'”

In August 2016, when Colin Kaepernick was still one of few American Football players who took a knee in protest against racism and police violence, Trump proposed to deport Kaepernick. Now, there are far more players protesting.

70% of American football players in the National Football League are African American. 0% of the rich owners of American football clubs are African American. Not one of these bosses has hired Kaepernick, now out of work.

The dark racial sentiment in Trump’s NBA and NFL criticism: here.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Take a knee: Dozens of NFL players stage biggest protest yet in response to Donald Trump comments

Samuel Osborne, Alexandra Wilts

London, Washington DC

Around two dozen NFL players knelt while the American national anthem played at Wembley Stadium in London, defying Donald Trump after he suggested players who take a knee during the anthem should be fired.

Over the weekend, Mr Trump has repeatedly denounced such protests by athletes, verbally attacked two of the world’s most powerful sports leagues and seemingly uninvited the NBA champion Golden State Warriors from the traditional White House visit for league victors.

Among the players who took a knee at the matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars were Ravens’ linebackers Terrell Suggs and CJ Mosley, wide receiver Mike Wallace and safety Lardarius Webb. Jaguars’ running backs Leonard Fournette and Dante Fowler, defensive tackle Calais Campbell, defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and cornerback Jalen Ramsey also kneeled.

Players on both teams and Jaguars owner Shad Khan, who were not kneeling, remained locked arm-in-arm throughout the national anthem and “God Save The Queen.”

No players were kneeling during the British national anthem.

While speaking in Huntsville, Alabama on Friday night, Mr Trump employed an expletive to refer to athletes who sit or kneel during the anthem, a movement that began last year when Colin Kaepernick, then a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, began doing so to highlight, as he has said, police brutality and racial injustice.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b**** off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’” the president said at a rally for Republican senator Luther Strange, who is running in a special election next week to remain in the seat vacated by attorney general Jeff Sessions.

“You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it [but] they’ll be the most popular person in this country.”

Mr Trump’s comments drew a strong response from several athletes and the commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell, who called Mr Trump’s comments “divisive”.

This 23 September 2017 video from the USA says about itself:

Lebron James “Donald Trump Is A Bum” Reacts To Steph Curry Being Univited To White House

Lebron James defends Stephen Curry after Donald Trump disrespects Golden State Warriors.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Donald Trump calls for NFL boycott over ‘take a knee’ protests

US president has spent weekend denouncing football and basketball stars

Donald Trump has called on fans of American Football to stop attending games “until players stop disrespecting our flag and country”, amid a row over political protests at US sports events.

The US president has undertaken a weekend-long rant in which he has denounced the protests by NFL players and rescinded a White House invitation for NBA champion Stephen Curry.

His outbursts have brought swift condemnation from league executives and star players alike.

Wading into thorny issues of race and politics, Trump’s comments in a Friday night speech and a series of Saturday tweets drew sharp responses from some of the nation’s top athletes, with LeBron James calling the president a “bum.” Hours later, Major League Baseball saw its first player take a knee during the national anthem.

Trump started by announcing that Curry, the popular two-time MVP for the Golden State Warriors, would not be welcome at the White House for the commemorative visit traditionally made by championship teams: “Going to the White House is considered a great honour for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!”

Later, Trump reiterated what he said at a rally in Alabama the previous night – that NFL players who kneel for the national anthem should be fired, and called on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to tell them to stand.

He then went further on Sunday morning by telling fans to boycott games.

“If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast,” he tweeted. “Fire or suspend!”

The Warriors said it was made clear to them that they were not welcome at the White House.

Curry had said he did not want to go anyway, but the Warriors had not made a collective decision before Saturday — and had planned to discuss it in the morning before the president’s tweet, to which coach Steve Kerr said : “Not surprised. He was going to break up with us before we could break up with him.”

Others had far stronger reactions.

“U bum (at)StephenCurry30 already said he ain’t going!” James tweeted in a clear message to the president — a post that Twitter officials said was quickly shared many more times than any other he’s sent. “So therefore ain’t no invite. Going to White House was a great honour until you showed up!”

Dutch amateur footballers beat professional teams

This video is from the football ground of AVV Swift in Amsterdam today. Founded in 1910, they used to be a minor amateur outfit compared to bigger clubs in Amsterdam like Ajax which eventually became professional.

Today, AVV Swift played against Dutch Premier League professional team Vitesse from Arnhem in the first round of the Dutch football association cup tournament. Last season, Vitesse had won that cup.

However, today AVV Swift-Vitesse was still 0-0 after extra time. AVV Swift was better in the penalty shootout, 5-3. The video shows Swift’s decisive penalty shot, and the joy of their 1500 fans (ground sold out).

AVV Swift supporters celebrate, photo © ProShots

This photo shows the joy of Swift’s Romanian goalie Bogdan Constantin who had stopped the first Vitesse penalty shot, celebrating after the match with young supporters and an AVV Swift flag.

There were two more surprises by amateur teams in this first round.

In Noordwijkerhout, local amateur club VVSB has a history of beating professional teams in cup matches. Today, they were soon 0-1 down against professional club Telstar. Then, they got a red card, meaning they had only ten players left against 11 Telstar players. Still, they made four goals for a 4-1 victory. Three goals by Mohamed Osrouti, one by Tim de Rijk.

And in Groesbeek village, local amateurs Achilles’29 beat the NAC Breda professionals 4-3.

Already in Tuesday’s first round matches amateurs had beaten professionals twice.

The Kozakken Boys amateurs from Werkendam beat the De Graafschap professionals after extra time and penalty kicks.

GVVV from Veenendaal beat the FC Dordrecht professionals. The only goal was by Soufiane Laghmouch.

This 19 September 2017 video shows the supporters’ reaction after that winning goal.

Dutch women’s football team wins European championship

This 6 August 2017 video from Enschede, the Netherlands, says about itself:

Netherlands 4-2 Denmark – All Goals & Highlights – UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 Final – 6/8/2017

Afghan Danish Nadia Nadim made the first goal from a penalty kick. However, in the end, the Dutch home team won in a full Enschede stadium.

Until today, the only three national teams who had ever won a women’s European championship were Germany, Norway and Sweden.

One Dutch supporters’ sign read: ‘Who needs Neymar [Brazilian male football player very recently sold from FC Barcelona to Paris Saint Germain for 200 million euro]? We have Lieke.’ Meaning Dutch team left forward [like Neymar] Lieke Martens, who won the prize for best player of the tournament. Like Neymar until recently, her club team is Barcelona.

London Wimbledon bosses ban Jeremy Corbyn chanting

This satiric 3 July 2017 video from Wimbledon tennis court in London, England says about itself:


Actually, it is video of decades ago at Wimbledon, when it rained, there was no tennis and Sir Cliff Richard started singing; with the sound of recent pro-Jeremy Corbyn chanting superimposed.

The satire is because of what this 4 July 2017 video from the USA says:

Wimbledon Issues Ban On Chanting “Jeremy Corbyn“!

From daily The Independent in Britain:

The Corbyn chant was sung by supporters of the [rugby] British and Irish Lions during their game with New Zealand on Saturday [1 July 2017] morning, indicating that this could be a trend beyond Glastonbury. …

Although it is rare, Wimbledon isn’t a stranger to political protests. In 2011 the Spanish anti-austerity 15-M movement were prevented from making a protest during a Rafael Nadal match and in 2016 David Cameron was greeted by boos after Andy Murray acknowledged the former Prime Minister during his victory speech.

Tellingly, the Wimbledon bigwigs, mainly Conservatives, I suspect, have not banned chants supporting wobbly Tory Prime Minister Theresa May. Maybe also because very few, if any, people would think of chanting in support of May. After Ms May’s disastrous austerity policies, disastrous election campaign, disastrous reaction to the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy, disastrous coalition with Irish terrorist homophobes, to whom she gave her magic money tree loot, even many people who have voted Conservative all their lives are thinking seriously about never doing that again. And Tory politicians who at the moment still say in public that they support Theresa May 100% are meanwhile, out of sight of the public, quarreling behind her back whether they should stab her in the back in a few days’ time, a few weeks’ time, or a few months’ time.

The Wimbledon situation reminds me of Brazil. At the recent Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, spectators booed Brazilian coup president Temer at the opening ceremony. So, Temer did not dare to go to the closing ceremony. A bit later, he was booed by spectators of the Paralymics; where tickets were cheaper, so that also some not so well of Brazilians could afford them.

8-year-old US girl banned from soccer for her short hair

This video from the USA says about itself:

Girl Kicked Out Of Soccer Tournament For An INSANE Reason

5 June 2017

An 8-year-old girl (and her entire team) was kicked out of a soccer tournament in Nebraska because according to officials she looked like a boy. Ana Kasparian, Hasan Piker and Brett Erlich, the hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.

“A family from Nebraska is outraged over how their 8-year-old daughter was treated at a soccer tournament.

Tournament officials apparently disqualified Mili Hernandez and her entire team from the finals because organizers thought she was a boy.

Her parents said they proved her gender, but it wasn’t enough.

Mili is an exuberant girl who loves soccer and her short haircut.

“When my hair starts to grow, I put it short because I always had short hair,” she said. “So I didn’t like my hair long.”

Read more here.

Shouldn’t the transphobic soccer bureaucrats, who ruined the joy of an 8-year-old girl and her whole team, be banned from all sports clubs and all sports grounds for life? Maybe these misogynistic morons think that 8-year-old girl soccer players should not just have mandatory short hair, but play in mandatory high heel shoes as well?

United States international women’s soccer player Abby Wambach reacted on Twitter:

Mili, don’t EVER let anyone tell you that you aren’t perfect just as you are. I won championships with short hair.

See also here.

United States international women’s soccer player Mia Hamm supports Mili as well.