Anti-racist American footballer Kaepernick fights injustice

This video from the USA says about itself:

9 October 2017

It was US Army veteran Nate Boyer who suggested to Kaepernick to take a knee as a sign of respect. Kaepernick’s protest was no statement on the military but to call attention to police brutality in America where cops are getting paid leave for murdering unarmed Americans.

Edited by Matt Orfalea.

By Alan Gilman in the USA:

Kaepernick seeks arbitration over NFL blacklisting

16 October 2017

Free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick is filing a collusion grievance against National Football League (NFL) owners, according to a document obtained by ABC News.

The filing, which demands an arbitration hearing on the matter, says the NFL and its owners “have colluded to deprive Mr. Kaepernick of employment rights in retaliation for Mr. Kaepernick’s leadership and advocacy for equality and social justice and his bringing awareness to particular institutions still undermining racial equality in the United States.”

Kaepernick drew national attention last season when he knelt during the national anthem before games to protest social injustice, and in particular the large number of police killings of African-Americans. His protest quickly spread, as many other players throughout the league engaged in similar symbolic protests during the anthem. College and high school players also joined in these anthem protests.

The gifted athlete became the target of presidential invective last month, when President Trump told a campaign rally in Alabama that he wanted NFL owners to fire any “son of a bitch” who knelt or otherwise protested during the playing of the national anthem. Several owners have taken up Trump’s call, with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones threatening to bench any player who follow’s Kaepernick’s example.

Kaepernick began his career with the San Francisco 49ers in 2011, and in his six seasons with the 49ers he led them to one Super Bowl appearance and to within one game of another. Last season, when he began his protests, he served as a backup while recovering from shoulder surgery. He regained his starting position by game six, and was the starting quarterback for all but one of the season’s remaining 10 games and finished with a 90.7 quarterback rating—higher than some of the league’s leading quarterbacks such as Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers and Joe Flacco, among others.

After last season, in part because of San Francisco’s poor record and chaotic coaching changes—four different coaches in four seasons—Kaepernick opted out of his contract, thereby making himself a free agent available to be signed by any team for this season.

During the ten months of his free agency, no team has offered Kaepernick a contract. The league’s owners have continued to assert that the refusal of any team to offer him a contract stemmed from his poor on-the-field performance and had nothing to do with his protests against police violence.

This claim, however, has been repeatedly belied by coaches and players throughout the league. In June, Seattle Seahawks’ coach Pete Carroll said, “Colin’s been a fantastic football player and he’s going to continue to be … He’s a starter in this league. And we have a starter. But he’s a starter in this league, and I can’t imagine that someone won’t give him a chance to play.”

Before the season began, Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins expressed the feelings of many players when he said to the Daily News, “I would love to see him push back, because I do think he’s been blackballed, and there’s plenty of quotes from owners or whoever saying they’re afraid of the backlash they would get.”

Many other players, including such prominent stars as Richard Sherman, Doug Baldwin, Derrick Carr, and Aaron Rodgers have made similar statements, making it clear that the failure of any team to sign Kaepernick is unrelated to his football abilities.

The filing of the collusion claim comes at the end of the sixth week of the season. During this period, several of the league’s starters have been replaced by backups because of poor performance, while others have had to be replaced because of injuries, yet Kaepernick still has received no offers.

He has chosen to file his complaint outside of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA), and has retained criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos who has represented a number of high-profile celebrities.

The NFL has very clear and strict rules outlawing teams from colluding against players. Article 17 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) prohibits teams from working together against players and states any victims of collusion are entitled to economic damages (likely the average salary quarterbacks were getting from teams this offseason), as well as additional compensation equal to double whatever those lost wages come to.

Collusion does not require all 32 teams working together, but evidence must establish that at least two individuals colluded against a player to validate a claim. In the 1980s, free-agent baseball players proved Major League Baseball owners were conspiring against them to keep salaries down. An arbitrator awarded the players $280 million in damages.

Kaepernick’s collusion claim comes as Green Bay’s all-pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers sustained a broken collarbone during Sunday’s game, likely ending his season. In August, Rodgers told ESPN Magazine, “I think he (Kaepernick) should be on a team right now. I think because of his protests, he’s not.”

COLIN KAEPERNICK FILES COLLUSION GRIEVANCE AGAINST NFL OWNERS “If the NFL … is to remain a meritocracy, then principled and peaceful protest — which the owners themselves made great theater imitating weeks ago — should not be punished and athletes should not be denied employment based on partisan political provocation by the Executive Branch of our government,” his lawyer said in a statement. And several NFL players continued the protest over the weekend. [HuffPost]

THE CAROLINA PANTHERS OWNER HAS PUT THE TEAM UP FOR SALE AMID SEXUAL HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS The NFL has launched an investigation into allegations Carolina Panthers’ owner Jerry Richardson made sexually suggestive and racist comments. Diddy says he’s interested in buying the team and putting Colin Kaepernick in as quarterback. [HuffPost]


German footballers’ solidarity with American footballers against Trump, racism

This video from Germany says about itself:

Hertha Berlin players ‘take a knee’ in solidarity with NFL protests

15 October 2017

Hertha Berlin [soccer club] showed support for NFL players in the US by kneeling before their home game with Schalke. The club’s starting lineup linked arms and took a knee on the pitch, while coaching staff, officials and substitutes took a knee off it. NFL players have been demonstrating against discrimination in the US by kneeling, sitting or locking arms during the national anthem before games. On Twitter, Hertha said: ‘Hertha BSC stands for tolerance and responsibility! For a tolerant Berlin and an open-minded world, now and forevermore!’

Trump’s war on American football, continued

This 23 September 2017 video from the USA is called NBA players, celebs and more reactions to Donald Trump comments on Stephen Curry.

By Alan Gilman in the USA:

Intensifying his attack on NFL players, Trump continues to incite the ultra-right

28 September 2017

During a campaign appearance September 22 in Alabama, President Donald Trump called for National Football League (NFL) owners to fire players who kneeled in protest during the national anthem. As Trump provocatively bellowed, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired,” the right-wing audience erupted in wild applause and chanted “USA,USA,USA.”

By “disrespect” Trump was referring to protests begun last year by San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who initiated the practice of refusing to stand during the playing of the national anthem to protest police killings of African Americans. Subsequently, some of Kaepernick’s teammates and players from other teams joined in similar symbolic protests during the playing of the anthem. Protests also took place at college and high school football games.

Kaepernick, who is considered one of the top 20 quarterbacks, was effectively blacklisted by NFL owners and not offered a contract this year. NFL teams are owned by billionaires or near billionaires for the most part, many of whom are personal friends of Trump. Six of the owners contributed nearly $8,000,000 to Trump’s inaugural committee.

The anthem protests this season were relatively low-key to begin with, with a few players taking a knee or raising a fist during the “Star-Spangled Banner.” What seemingly had become almost a non-issue erupted into a firestorm after Trump put in his reactionary two cents, calling for players to be fired for exercising their right of free speech.

Pleased with the response from his ultra-right base, and the reaction from “over-paid athletes” as well as the media, Trump escalated his provocative campaign on Saturday by tweeting that he was withdrawing an invitation to honor the Golden State Warriors on winning the National Basketball Association (NBA) championship because Stephen Curry, one of its star players, had expressed his reservations about attending the traditional White House event.

This caused dozens of the league’s most popular players to issue statements condemning Trump. LeBron James, one of the NBA’s best players, tweeted that Trump was a “bum” for withdrawing the invitation, and later said, “He [Trump] used the sports platform to divide us. Sports is so amazing, what sports can do for everyone, no matter shape, size, race. It brings people together like no other. I’m not going to let one individual no matter the power, the impact he or she should have, ever use sport as a platform to divide us. The people run this country, not one person. And damn sure not him.”

Former basketball great Michael Jordan, known during his career for not commenting on controversial issues, said, “Those who exercise the right to peacefully express themselves should not be demonized or ostracized.” Other past or present NBA players, including Russell Westbrook, Dirk Nowitzki, J.J. Redick and Magic Johnson, as well as coaches Doc Rivers, Greg Popovich and Brad Stevens among others, all condemned Trump’s attacks on NFL and NBA players.

On Saturday, Oakland A’s rookie catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first Major League Baseball player to kneel during the anthem.

This past Sunday, NFL players’ opposition to Trump’s threats was overwhelming, with many players either kneeling, sitting or locking arms. Three teams remained in their locker rooms during the playing of the anthem.

Singers Rico Lavelle in Detroit and Meghan Linsey in Nashville each took a knee at the end of his or her rendition of the anthem. At the Monday night game in Arizona, singer Jordin Sparks had written “Proverbs 31:8-9” on her hand. The passage in question reads, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

Before Sparks began to sing, all of the Dallas Cowboy players and coaches, along with team owner Jerry Jones, dropped to one knee before standing again and locking arms as the anthem was sung. Jones was one of those owners who donated $1 million to Trump’s inauguration committee and in the past expressed the view that players should not protest the anthem.

Al Michaels, the longtime sports announcer, noted on Sunday evening, “People were beginning to listen to each other, it was calming down a little bit, and then a match got thrown into the gas tank. And the one thing that I came away with today after watching these games is it has galvanized the league—players, coaches, everybody. It’s inadvertently created a new level of unity.”

Michaels’ description accurately describes Trump’s provocative behavior and the impact it had in uniting players and wide layers of the population in defense of basic democratic rights. His statement ignores, however, that Trump’s incendiary remarks were intended to “galvanize” a nascent fascist base.

The NFL anthem protests, which involve predominately African-American players expressing opposition to police killings of black youth, becomes transformed by Trump into “ungrateful” and “overpaid” blacks desecrating the flag, the police and the military.

On Monday, Trump doubled down in the aftermath of Sunday’s NFL players’ protest, by tweeting he was “So proud of NASCAR [National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing] and its supporters and fans. They won’t put up with disrespecting our Country or our Flag—they said it loud and clear!” Trump was referencing a NASCAR race in New Hampshire on Sunday in which no anthem protests took place.

However, on Monday morning, NASCAR’s most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., implicitly rejected Trump’s anti-democratic campaign, tweeting that “All Americans R [are] granted rights 2 [to] peaceful protests”, and, significantly, quoted John F. Kennedy, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

Trump next made an appeal to the military. He sent out a “#StandForOurAnthem” tweet in which he referenced Pat Tillman as an example of how a patriotic football player should act. Tillman was a NFL player who gave up his lucrative career in 2002, following 9/11, to join the military. He was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2004, although initially the military promoted the story that he had been killed by insurgents. Tillman had become increasingly critical of George W. Bush and the US-led wars and had made an appointment to meet with war opponent Noam Chomsky on his return from the military.

Tillman’s widow, Marie, rebuked Trump for his comments this week, saying that her husband died to protect freedoms including the right to peacefully protest. “The very action of self expression and the freedom to speak from one’s heart—no matter those views—is what Pat and so many other Americans have given their lives for”, she told CNN. This was not the first time Marie Tillman has spoken out against Trump. In January, she denounced his controversial executive order banning travel from several majority-Muslim countries: “This is not the country [Pat] dreamed of, not what he served for and not what he died for.”

Despite criticism from a broad spectrum of professional athletes and public figures, Trump continued his campaign of provocations on Tuesday during a joint press conference with Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. The US president once again asserted that it was “disgraceful” that NFL players chose to kneel in protest. Earlier in the day he defended his criticism of the NFL and its players and urged the league to impose rules requiring players to stand for the national anthem.

On Wednesday, he told reporters, “You cannot have people disrespecting our national anthem, our flag, our country and that’s what they’re doing. In my opinion the NFL has to change. Or you know what’s going to happen? Their business is going to go to hell.”

Despite his unpopularity, Trump can be expected to continue his campaign of incitement and provocation. It speaks to the tense social and political situation and the efforts to incite reactionary elements against the inevitable mass opposition to poverty, war and threats of dictatorship. Trump’s latest attempts to whip up fascistic elements are designed ultimately to organize those forces, with the backing of the police and the military, to violently suppress political opposition.

NFL players’ union defends members in battle with Trump: here.

These students in Louisiana were told to stand for the national anthem.

Mike Pence Walks Out Of NFL Game Over Kneeling Protest. “This is what systemic oppression looks like. A man with power comes to the game, tweets a couple of things out … to thwart our efforts”: here.

FOX SPORTS WILL NO LONGER AIR THE NATIONAL ANTHEM Before NFL games. And here’s what happened on Sunday. [HuffPost]

Trump administration orders Facebook to hand over private information on ‘anti-administration activists’. A legal challenge warns of stifling online speech: here.

Donald Trump’s war on American football, why?

This video from the USA says about itself:

26 September 2017

US President Donald Trump’s row with the National Football League (NFL) shows no sign of ending.

NFL players, coaches and owners, as well as some politicians have joined the protests against Trump’s attack on players who have knelt during the national anthem.

Al Jazeera’s Rob Reynolds reports.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

Behind Trump’s attack on the NFL football players

26 September 2017

Donald Trump’s vulgar and threatening comments about NFL football players have shocked millions of people. However, a focus on the president’s personality traits cannot explain why he provoked a public conflict with these athletes over their involvement in protests against police violence and racism. The reasons must be found in the deepening political crisis of the Trump administration and of American capitalism as a whole. And it is an understanding of this crisis that must guide the actions of working people and youth.

Under conditions of mounting war threats against North Korea; the devastation of Puerto Rico, a US territory, by Hurricane Maria; and the near-collapse of the latest attempt by the Republican-controlled Congress to repeal Obamacare, the US president devoted 12 tweets in 30 hours to the observance of the national anthem at sporting events. No other event warranted such attention.

What took place last weekend arose from a deliberate decision by the president of the United States to weigh in against a long-running campaign of protest against police brutality and violence, especially against African-American youth. Trump sought to provoke as much outrage as possible, particularly among the black athletes, who comprise 75 percent of NFL teams, and in that way arouse his ultra-right and fascistic social base.

Trump does not care that his positions are massively unpopular, or that the players have widespread support. He is not seeking to assemble an electoral or parliamentary majority, but to whip up a lynch-mob atmosphere within a minority of the population, which can be directed towards the violent suppression of any public opposition to the policies of his government, and particularly against opposition to the actions of the police and military.

Trump’s last tweet on Monday morning was perhaps the most brazenly racist, as he hailed the performance of NASCAR race drivers, nearly all white, contrasting the absence of protests at Sunday’s race in New Hampshire to the actions of football players, who protested in large numbers at 15 game sites.

Football players of all races have been justifiably angered by Trump’s demand that NFL owners fire any “son of a bitch” who exercises his right of free speech. But the vulgar language is more than just insulting. It has ominous overtones. Trump is inviting and justifying in advance the use of violence against those who protest police killings, and by extension, anyone who protests against the policies of his administration.

The president used similar language while he was a candidate to encourage violence against those who sought to take a public stand against his ultra-right campaign. In several well-publicized incidents, his supporters took his suggestion and punched, beat or otherwise set upon anti-Trump protesters. In some cases, guns were drawn.

Trump is following a sinister example. Forty-seven years ago, President Richard Nixon used similar language to denounce protesters against the War in Vietnam, declaring that students opposing his decision to expand the war by sending US troops into Cambodia were “bums”. Three days after this remark, on May 4, 1970, National Guard troops opened fire on peaceful protesters at Kent State University in Ohio, killing four students.

It is not just a matter of distant historical precedent. One of Trump’s longstanding political cronies and advisers, Roger Stone, got his start in capitalist politics as a “dirty tricks” operative for Nixon. Trump’s first political mentor, attorney Roy Cohn, played a central role, alongside Nixon and Senator Joseph McCarthy, in the anti-communist witch hunts of the 1950s. Trump’s speechwriters have modeled many of his appeals on Nixon’s claims to represent a “silent majority,” while his political operation has reprised Nixon’s “southern strategy,” aiming to capitalize on the backward and reactionary traditions of the southern “Bible Belt”.

Liberal media critics have bemoaned Trump’s denunciation of the football players, as well as his war of words with top NBA basketball players Stephen Curry and LeBron James, calling his rhetoric “divisive.” But it is intentionally so. Trump is making a deliberate appeal to racial and other forms of bigotry, including misogyny and anti-gay bias, as well as prejudice against immigrants and refugees. He issued his stream of tweets against the athletes on the eve of his administration announcing a new travel ban, adding North Korea and Venezuela to the list of predominantly Muslim countries targeted in the initial executive order.

More fundamentally, Trump and those aides who have publicly defended his attacks on the athletes are demanding absolute public conformity in relation to the US military and police. As Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Sunday, “This is about respect for the military, the first responders.” This is particularly imperative in relation to nationally televised sporting events like NFL games, which have long been venues for celebrations of militarism, with flyovers by fighter jets and ceremonies featuring color guards and gigantic flags.

Like Nixon during the Vietnam era, Trump is seeking to mobilize right-wing forces on the basis of chauvinism to suppress widespread popular opposition to war. At that time, Nixon’s efforts culminated in the Watergate scandal and his own forced resignation to avoid impeachment. Trump faces a different and even more unfavorable political landscape, with American society more deeply divided than ever, not along lines of race or gender, but along class lines: never has the gulf been greater between the super-rich and the vast majority of working people, of all races and ethnic origins.

Trump engages in more open appeals to racism than Nixon because his goal is not the winning of the next presidential election, but the building of an extra-parliamentary movement of the extreme right, based on the police and sections of the military, to establish authoritarian forms of rule.

There is no doubt that the reaction of the players, in uniting broadly to defend their democratic rights, and the widespread popular support for them, reflect the deep-seated allegiance to democratic principles among working people in the United States. Trump has encountered far more hostility than he expected, and on Monday the White House was clearly engaged in a political maneuver to defuse opposition and disguise its real aims.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders opened her press conference with a statement noting that September 25 is the 60th anniversary of the integration of Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas, one of the seminal events of the civil rights struggles. She sought to fend off a barrage of hostile questions about Trump’s attack on the NFL players, claiming ludicrously that the president “was not against anyone.”

This is only political posturing, however. The real goals of the Trump administration remain as before: continued military buildup; provoking war crises, which threaten to break out into full-scale war, not only with North Korea but with China, Iran and Russia; attacking the democratic rights of the working class; and carrying through the destruction of domestic social programs like Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.

The response of the NFL players is a politically healthy sign. It has shocked both the Trump administration and its liberal “critics,” who share a common class allegiance to the interests of Wall Street.

But the defeat of this government requires more than instinctive and politically inchoate resistance. It requires the building of a political movement of the working class to break the grip of the corporate and financial oligarchy and champion its own social interests—for jobs, decent living standards, social benefits, democratic rights, peace—through a socialist program. Only the development of such a class program can counter the appeals of ultra-right and fascist demagogues to nationalism, racism and other forms of bigotry, and unify the entire working class—black, white, native born and immigrant—in a common struggle for social equality.

Trump is the political equivalent of a fatberg, says Naomi Klein. ‘It gets so grim that we have to laugh’, said the Canadian author: here.

TREASURY SECRETARY STEVE MNUCHIN HAS COST THE TAXPAYERS $800,000 FOR MILITARY JET TRAVEL An official government inquiry ​found no wrongdoing, citing national security reasons for the travel. Energy Secretary Rick Perry also took a chartered jet plane​ the day before Tom Price resigned. [HuffPost​]

Kill anti-racist American footballers, Trump’s religious adviser suggests

This video from the USA says about itself:

Trump Won’t Stop Tweeting His Anger At The NFL

26 September 2017

On Tuesday morning, obsessive Donald was STILL Tweeting about the NFL, making all sorts of wild claims that are completely untrue. The man has a serious problem and he doesn’t understand that he’s just digging himself deeper and deeper into a hole that he can’t possibly climb out of. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins discusses this.

From Haaretz daily in Israel:

Trump’s Evangelical Adviser on Fox News: NFL Players Lucky ‘They Are Not Shot in the Head’

Robert Jeffress, a Southern Baptist

a fundamentalist church founded in 1845 because slave owning Baptists from the south of the USA thought northern Baptists were too critical of slavery

pastor who leads a televised ministry in Dallas, serves as an informal advisor to Trump on faith-based issues

Haaretz and Reuters Sep 26, 2017 2:43 PM

Evangelical pastor Robert Jeffress addressed the ongoing battle between Donald Trump and kneeling NFL players on “Fox and Friends” Monday saying that these players should “be thanking God” they haven’t been “shot in the head.”

“I think what these players are doing is absolutely wrong,” Jeffress said. “These players ought to be thanking God that they live in a country where they’re not only free to earn millions of dollars every year, but they’re also free from the worry of being shot in the head for taking a knee like they would be if they were in North Korea.”

This is not Jeffress’s first inflammatory statement, in mid-September he said God “is not necessarily an open borders guy,” also while appearing on “Fox and Friends” – where he is a paid contributor. Jeffress made that comment while on the program discussing a letter by Christian leaders imploring Trump to use “Christian compassion” when it comes to immigration.

Jeffress, a Southern Baptist pastor who leads a televised ministry in Dallas, serves as an informal advisor to Trump on faith-based issues and led Trump in prayer from the Oval Office after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas.

Media Matters for America compiled a clip of some of Jeffress’s most extreme statements made on camera. The clip includes Jeffress saying the “the dark dirty secret of Islam is that it is a religion that promotes pedophilia.” Jeffress also says “you can’t be saved by being a Jew” and “Mormonism is heresy from the pit of hell.”

Jeffress made headlines in August as well when he claimed the Bible gives Trump “moral authority to use whatever force necessary” against North Korea.
read more:

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.

THE COWBOYS AND THE CARDINALS SILENTLY PROTESTED MONDAY NIGHT In a twist, the Cowboys — along with their owner, Jerry Jones — knelt before the national anthem and then stood and linked arms during it. The Steeler who stood for the national anthem defends the athletes who protested it. And HuffPost’s Travis Waldron talks how the NFL has always been political. [HuffPost]