In the wake of the President Donald Trump’s attack on the peaceful protest of NFL players by kneeling during the national anthem, the Bay Area seems to be in the middle of it all.
It all started over a year ago when then-49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat during the national anthem, protesting against police brutality and institutional racism.
The most polarizing event over the last week were Trump’s tweets uninviting the Golden State Warriors, who won the NBA Championship earlier this year, to the White House.
Statements from both sides made headlines nationwide, reverberating in the Bay Area as well.
Oakland Raider running back Marshawn Lynch has been sitting during the national anthem. And this past weekend, Oakland A’s rookie Bruce Maxwell was the first player in Major League Baseball (MLB) to kneel for the anthem.
The significance of Maxwell’s protest is that he is doing it in a sport that is predominately white. Baseball is often called “America’s pastime.”
Maxwell is more likely to receive criticism from his peers than an athlete from the NBA or the NFL.
Sports fans and just average people should be proud of how the local professional athletes and sports franchises have handled this situation.
Front offices have allowed athletes to express their freedom of speech — despite Trump’s attacks on their First Amendment rights.
The Bay Area has been the epicenter for anti-police brutality and anti-Trump protests focusing on institutional racism in this country.
Having the President of the United States call the most popular group of athletes in the U.S. “a son of a bitch” is totally uncalled for and disrespectful.
Trump’s actions have caused a stir in the sports world and will cause more protests by athletes across the country.
The Bay Area is one of the homes of the free speech movement, the Black Panthers, Occupy Wall Street and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Area residents expect the peaceful protests to continue locally and across the country.
Athletes like Stephen Curry, Bruce Maxwell and Colin Kaepernick will continue to lead the way in the fight for free speech.
These athletes will continue to inspire millions of people using their platforms as a way of denouncing the hate of the President and his rhetoric.
If Trump continues his assault on the First Amendment, more powerful voices in the sports world will speak out against him.
Once billionaire owners begin to speak against Trump’s attacks, his supporters may stop defending his hateful rhetoric.
Trump’s biggest mistake in this whole situation is offending America’s most beloved athletes, like Curry.
The President has seemingly declared war on the entirety of the American sporting world.
And this is a war he won’t win because of his attack on the wallets of team ownership, which has turned some in the business community against him.
Athletes may speak out more against injustice because they now have the shallow support of their billionaire bosses..
If the sports world can at least get this President to shut up and apologize for his hurtful words it would be a major victory for everyone who stands for decency.
The Bay Area will continue to lead the way in innovative and progressive thought. Our athletes, who speak out in protest, should continue to use their platform for the greater good of the underrepresented among us.
Efrain Valdez is the social media editor for The Advocate. Contact him at [email protected]