NFL own­ers afraid of their play­ers — Trump

Po­lice un­der fire over post

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

WASH­ING­TON, Sept 28, (AP): Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump says Na­tional Foot­ball League team own­ers are “afraid of their play­ers.” And he’s still call­ing for ac­tion against those who kneel dur­ing the na­tional an­them to protest racial in­jus­tice.

Trump says he be­gan crit­i­ciz­ing the play­ers be­cause he has “so many friends that are own­ers.” He adds: “I think they are afraid of their play­ers, if you want to know the truth, and I think it’s dis­grace­ful.”

The pres­i­dent spoke in an in­ter­view that aired Thursday on “Fox and Friends.” He says “most peo­ple agree” with him.

Trump has spent days at­tack­ing play­ers who kneel dur­ing the an­them. He in­sists the NFL should re­quire play­ers to stand. Re­spond­ing to Trump, hun­dreds more play­ers have been sit­ting, kneel­ing, lock­ing arms or re­main­ing in locker rooms.

Mean­while, the Michi­gan Leg­isla­tive Black Cau­cus and civil rights groups on Wed­nes­day called for the res­ig­na­tion or fir­ing of the head of the State Po­lice for shar­ing a Face­book post call­ing NFL play­ers who protest dur­ing the na­tional an­them “anti-Amer­i­can de­gen­er­ates.” The cau­cus, which is com­prised of 22 Demo­cratic leg­is­la­tors, said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue — who has apol­o­gized — can no longer be trusted to ful­fill her du­ties in an ob­jec­tive and un­bi­ased man­ner. Lib­eral ac­tivists, the Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union and at least one Demo­cratic gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­date, Ab­dul El-Sayed, also called for her ouster.

Repub­li­can Gov. Rick Sny­der will not ask her to step down, spokes­woman Anna Heaton said.


“The colonel said she made a mis­take and pub­licly apol­o­gized,” she said. “She has served with dis­tinc­tion as an out­stand­ing pub­lic ser­vant for decades.”

The post Etue shared on Sun­day, which was signed “we the peo­ple,” calls the protest­ing play­ers “mil­lion­aire in­grates who hate Amer­ica and dis­re­spect our armed forces and vet­er­ans.” It also calls them “rich, en­ti­tled, un­grate­ful.”

The post an­gered law­mak­ers, es­pe­cially in Detroit, where a white state po­lice trooper last month fired a Taser at an un­armed black 15-year-old, Da­mon Grimes, dur­ing a chase be­fore the teen crashed an all­ter­rain ve­hi­cle and died.

Sen Vin­cent Gre­gory, a Southfield Demo­crat and for­mer sher­iff’s de­tec­tive, said dur­ing a con­tentious state Se­nate de­bate that law en­force­ment of­fi­cers are “held to a higher stan­dard” and Etue must meet “an even higher stan­dard.”

“We have now a colonel, the leader of the state po­lice, that has now shown a dis­tinct bias to­ward a group of cit­i­zens in the state of Michi­gan,” he said. “So my ques­tion is, ‘How can she con­tinue to do this job when she’s shown a bias?’”

The ACLU of Michi­gan said Etue “un­der­mined her lead­er­ship and may have ir­repara­bly dam­aged MSP’s re­la­tion­ship with com­mu­ni­ties of color.” But Repub­li­cans de­fended Etue. Sen Rick Jones, a for­mer sher­iff from Grand Ledge, said Etue has worked to re­cruit more women and mi­nor­ity troop­ers. He said the meme she shared was on her pri­vate Face­book page and that she has the same First Amend­ment rights as the protest­ing play­ers.

Sen Pa­trick Col­beck, a Canton Town­ship Repub­li­can who is run­ning for gov­er­nor, called Etue “a woman of honor, in­tegrity” and urged NFL play­ers to not “protest a sym­bol of our unity.”

Yet in an im­pas­sioned re­sponse, Sen. Cole­man Young II, a Detroit Demo­crat, said res­i­dents are “in­censed” by po­lice ac­tions such as those lead­ing to the death of Grimes. Trooper Mark Bess­mer is ac­cused of fir­ing a Taser at Grimes from his pa­trol car af­ter the teen — sus­pected of driv­ing his ATV il­le­gally on the road — re­fused to stop. The teen crashed the ATV and died.

In re­lated news, Pan­thers quar­ter­back Cam New­ton said play­ers were given as­sur­ance from team owner Jerry Richard­son that they’re free to protest and ex­press their views with­out hav­ing to worry about any reper­cus­sions from him.


But play­ers said Wed­nes­day that Richard­son did warn them about po­ten­tial back­lash from the pub­lic.

New­ton, other team cap­tains and a few se­lected play­ers met with Richard­son on Tues­day at his Char­lotte home to ex­press con­cerns they had about protest­ing while play­ing for Richard­son’s or­ga­ni­za­tion.

“We just wanted to meet with Mr. Richard­son and dis­cuss cer­tain things that were on our minds and hearts from dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives,” New­ton said.

“The peo­ple that were over there (at the meet­ing) come from dif­fer­ent back­grounds and have dif­fer­ent views. The one thing about it is we ex­pressed those views and, more im­por­tantly, we agreed that ev­ery­body is en­ti­tled to their own thought process.”

New­ton said the de­tails of the meet­ing will re­main con­fi­den­tial, but called it pro­duc­tive.

“It was a step in the right di­rec­tion for us as an or­ga­ni­za­tion,” New­ton said.

Richard­son de­clined to be in­ter­viewed for this story.

It’s uncer­tain if the Pan­thers will stage any protest on Sun­day dur­ing the na­tional an­them when they visit the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots, ac­cord­ing to New­ton.

Last week­end hun­dreds of play­ers around the league protested Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s com­ment­ing on Twit­ter that play­ers who don’t stand for the na­tional an­them should be fired. But only one Carolina player — de­fen­sive end Julius Pep­pers — made a stand. The 17-year vet­eran re­mained in the tun­nel for the na­tional an­them be­fore Carolina’s game against the Saints.

Some play­ers ad­mit­ted they wor­ried about how a protest would sit with Richard­son.

“I was like man if I do sit down or kneel, or hold up a fist or stay in the locker room how it would look to the Big Cat?,” Cap­tain Mun­ner­lyn said, re­fer­ring to Richard­son’s nick­name. “That’s how I felt about the sit­u­a­tion.”

Richard­son was the sec­ond-to-last NFL owner to is­sue a state­ment on Trump’s com­ments.

Even when he did on Mon­day, Richard­son’s com­ments didn’t men­tion Trump, but said that “politi­ciz­ing the game is dam­ag­ing and takes the fo­cus off the great­ness of the game it­self and those who play it.”

While Richard­son has never said pub­li­cally that play­ers can’t protest, there’s been an un­der­ly­ing cur­rent that they’re dis­cour­aged from do­ing any­thing that might re­flect poorly on the or­ga­ni­za­tion.


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