World PoliticsSocial IssuesMilitaryEconomyUS PoliticsActivismGovernment

Donald Trump and Colin Kaepernick

Updated on September 30, 2017
peoplepower73 profile image

Mike has a keen interest in the effects of politics in our culture. He has a unique way of simplifying complex concepts.

The Power of Symbols

Man has always used symbols to represent things. Even the early cavemen used symbols to represent their subjects and topics. Symbols were used to tell stories and record history. However, symbols don’t always mean the same things to everybody. The cave painting below can be interpreted many ways, but the originator knew what it meant.

Interpretation of Symbols

Symbols, such as flags and gestures, can be interpreted to mean different things to different people depending on their values and belief systems. The Nazi swastika and the gesture of raising one’s arm in salute to Hitler were signs of unity and allegiance to Hitler and the Nazi party, but to his enemies, they meant something very sinister and evil.

Gestures as Symbols

The act of lowering one’s knee to the ground is a gesture of respect and worship when passing the blessed sacrament in the Catholic church. It was used in both the past and present during knightings as a means of showing reverence to a monarch. However, in sporting events, while the Pledge of allegiance and the National Anthem are playing, it can be considered by some as a sign of disrespect to the flag, the National Anthem, and the country.

Colin Kaepernick

Last year, Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the playing of the National Anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance. Kaepernick said he did it to protest the injustices dealt to Black people by law enforcement and the criminal justice system. There are many who have said that a national sporting event is not the place to protest. This raises the question: where is a good place to protest the injustices perpetrated against Black people? This was a peaceful protest and it reached millions of people. The problem is that this protest's true intent was lost in all the chatter about why he protested and how he should be punished for protesting.

Trump's Interpretation

Donald Trump has stated that Kaepernick's protest is not about race, but it is an act of disrespect towards the flag, the national anthem, the Pledge of Allegiance, the military, and the country. Trump suggested that the owners of NFL teams should fire the "SOB’s" who participate in the protests. Many people think that because football players earn so much money, they should just be quiet, not protest, and be thankful that they are earning megabucks for what they do.

Trump Changes the Narrative

Trump has changed the narrative surrounding Kaepernick's protest. Rather than acknowledge that it's a protest against racial injustice, Trump says it is about showing a lack of respect for the flag, the country, and those who served in the military. Currently the NFL players, coaches, and owners have all come together to support this protest. Trump doesn’t acknowledge that most of the players on NFL teams are Black. The word “team” here is very important. Trump, by his very nature is a divide-and-conquer type of person. He is not a team player. He did it with GOP candidates, the intelligence community, and now he is dividing the country into two camps, those who think this protest is about disrespect of the country and those who think it is about racial injustice.

In typical Trump style, he will stick to his interpretation of the protest and continue creating tweet storms, even though his interpretation of the protest is false. There is no telling what his real motivation is for doing this. It could all be a big distraction to take the focus off of health care, tax reform, North Korea, and/or the Russian investigation.

The Hypocrisy

It's okay for some people to pay reverence and praise to the confederate stars and bars and to Robert E, Lee who was a traitor and a slave owner. It's okay for Trump to place the blame of white supremacist's riots and actions in Charlotesville on both sides, but for some reason, Trump thinks that athletes who participate in Kaepernick's nonviolent protest by taking a knee are problematic.

Stakeholder's Analysis Summary

Let's look at who the stakeholders are in terms of rights, responsibilities, deficits, and benefits.

Trump has the right to say whatever he thinks the reason is for Colin Kaepernick's decision to kneel at football games. He also has a responsibility to tell the truth based on why Colin said he was kneeling. The harmful results of Trump sharing his opinion are the division of the country and its people into an us versus them mentality. The benefit for Trump is that he is playing to his base and gaining their support without understanding what the real issue is about.

Kaepernick has the right to peacefully kneel in protest of injustice towards Black people. He also has the responsibility to promote why he was kneeling, so that it is not open to interpretation. The fact is that Kaepernick began protesting in this manner over a year ago and his reasoning was not properly presented, explained, or understood until recently. Trump revived the issue when he played to his base's feelings. The benefit of this whole situation is that it does make people aware of the injustices that plague Black communities.

Do you think that Colin Kaepernick had the right to kneel in protest of injustice to people of color?

See results

Do you think Trump is telling the truth about Kaepernick or is it just his opinion?

See results

Do you think it is appropriate for sports teams to come together in support of the kneeling gesture?

See results

Do you believe that anybody who kneels during the National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance should be fired?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 2 weeks ago from Fontana

      Thanks Larry! I'll check when I get back from doctor's office.

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 2 weeks ago from Placentia California

      Thank you Larry...good to hear from you.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 weeks ago from Oklahoma

      This whole thing stems from Trumps pouting over not being able to get an NFL team because the current owners do what they can to stop him on account of he's incompetent at business.

      You need to watch the ESPN 360 documentary, I think it's called Small Potatoes.

      As for the protests, this is an ideal venue to protest.

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 2 weeks ago from Fontana

      I was thinking the same thing Jo! I'm sure it is hard for some to visiualize what is considered racism. We have the standard back of the bus, slaver, etc.

      Yesterday, a lady tweeted, (paraphrase) "Well we know what uniforms they would have on if they weren't in those." Jake Tapper asked, "Why would you say that?" Dog whistle, bull horn or whatever for they would be in prison uniforms.

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 2 weeks ago from Placentia California

      Thank you Jo. I agree with you whole heartily. Thanks for dropping by.

    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 2 weeks ago from Tennessee

      I was pleasantly surprised by the reaction of the NFL teams and owners to Trump's outbursts. I think his outburst may have opened up a dialog more than Kaepernick's original action. We need a dialog in this country about the continuing racial divide.

    • profile image

      Wild Bill 2 weeks ago

      Yes, we are allowed to have our own thoughts and the freedom to express them. Not many have that right, so we should all appreciate it and express our gratitude. I do every time the anthem plays and many other times.

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 2 weeks ago from Fontana

      Wild Bill, I was reading and stopped to watch livestream of my pastor's weekend message, United by Truth. It is on humility and considering the other person's point of view.

      I said what I said. I read what you said. We both expressed our thoughts based on our experiences. It's good that we are allowed to have our own thoughts and the hearts to consider what others say.

    • profile image

      Wild Bill 2 weeks ago

      The two previous comments seem to be moving the goalpost away from the topic, which is "Is Colin Kaepernick's protest disrespectful to the flag." Despite this, I will still address some of the discrepancies I have found in them, but hopefully we can get back on topic so we can have an honest discussion. Please forgive me if this is a long comment, but I have a lot to cover from those comments.

      Mike said: "Therefore, when people respect the confederate flag and the confederate generals, aren't they being disrespectful of the flag of The United States of America and everything it stands for? Isn't that the absence of respect by your own definition?"

      Yes, I agree that it is disrespectful to the US flag if one respects a confederate flag. These were rebels that separated from the Union. I have never mentioned my support for the Confederate Flag, nor do I understand what this has to do with the debate over the National Anthem protests.

      To Diane's numbered answers. Again you seem to give me reasons why African American are justified in disrespecting the flag. I am not refuting your facts, but I am again not clear on why you are choosing to use those facts.

      Diane said: "1. As a Christian, I and other Christians often kneel which is a sign of respect. Some raise their hands. Others say "Amen!" There is nothing to show that those that do a particular thing love the Lord less than others. It is a matter of the heart."

      Yes, I agree. I am Catholic and I am also taught to kneel as a sign of respect to God and if during the times that the congregation was kneeling and I chose to stand, it would be a sign of disrespect.

      I was also taught that when the Pledge or National Anthem is performed, I should stand at attention. Before this protest, I would see people talking or sitting while the anthem played and I felt that this is disrespectful. This 'protest' has not changed my mind about that.

      Diane said: "2. Hypocrisy - the flag on MAGA hats is against code:

      (d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker's desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general."

      This is getting off topic, but I will address that the code you have given is addressing an actual flag, not a patch. I have never heard that it is disrespectful to wear an American Flag patch. I actually have some items of clothing that have them. I also have never seen a MAGA hat with an American flag on it, but I don't see how suggesting to make America great again is disrespectful of the flag. As a matter of fact, it seems the opposite. FYI, I did not vote for Trump, so I am not sure how this is a slight against what I am saying.

      Diane said: "During slavery, Black people weren't considered human. The shackles and chains didn't make them any less human."

      Yes, I agree. Chains on a person do not make them less of a person. Lipstick on a pig doesn't make it less of a pig. You seem to be backing me up on this, so we don't really have a disagreement on this.

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 2 weeks ago from Placentia California

      Diane and Bill: As I said in this article. Symbols can be interpreted other than the original intent. Bill, you said, "The definition of Disrespect is the absence of respect, therefore if one doesn't show respect, they are being disrespectful."

      Therefore, when people respect the confederate flag and the confederate generals, aren't they being disrespectful of the flag of The United States of America and everything it stands for? Isn't that the absence of respect by your own definition?

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 2 weeks ago from Fontana

      Bill:

      Diane said: "The point is his purpose was not to disrespect the flag or the anthem. When the anthem was written and the flag came into being, we were still slaves. We have had to find our way into ideals which were once extended to whites only."

      In the first sentence you are saying that he is not disrespecting the flag, but then you follow that up with two sentences that seem to justify him disrespecting the flag if he had wanted to. Can you elaborate more on why you combined those three sentences together?

      Me

      I would actually like to have said a lot more but was trying to keep it short. Maybe I should have numbered them.

      1. The song was to celebrate colonists' victory against GB. At the time Francis Scott Key had slaves. It was not about victory for all Americans. It was celebrating freedom from reign of GB.

      2. The 3rd verse of the song tells how he felt about runaway slaves who were fighting because GB told them that they would give them their freedom.

      3. The flab and anthem are symbolic of the American ideals which at the time of the war Black people were considered property - not human beings.

      I was not attempted to do a dissertation....just trying to make accurate statements.

      Bill

      As for people saying he is not disrespecting the flag, my question is this; why do people stand when the national anthem is played? Why do they hold their hand over their heart? Why do they salute the flag if they were in the Armed Forces? The answer; Respect.

      Me

      I teach school. Jehovah Witness students are not required to participate for religious reasons. During that time, often students claim to be JW.

      Bill

      The definition of Disrespect is the absence of respect, therefore if one doesn't show respect, they are being disrespectful.

      Me

      1. As a Christian, I and other Christians often kneel which is a sign of respect. Some raise their hands. Others say "Amen!" There is nothing to show that those that do a particular thing love the Lord less than others. It is a matter of the heart.

      2. Hypocrisy - the flag on MAGA hats is against code:

      (d) The flag should never be used as wearing apparel, bedding, or drapery. It should never be festooned, drawn back, nor up, in folds, but always allowed to fall free. Bunting of blue, white, and red, always arranged with the blue above, the white in the middle, and the red below, should be used for covering a speaker's desk, draping the front of the platform, and for decoration in general.

      http://www.usflag.org/uscode36.html

      3. Worshipping the flag and the anthem is idol worship. It is the American ideals that we should cherish. The anthem applied to white people when it was written. It has taken more than a hundred years for the concept to include Black people. The hatred in some people's hearts keep it from being fully realized.

      Bill

      We can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig. We can say people aren't being disrespectful, but actions speak louder than words.

      Me

      During slavery, Black people weren't considered human. The shackles and chains didn't make them any less human.

      I'm tired!!! Goodnight!

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 2 weeks ago from Fontana

      Where did this come from and what does it mean?

      And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,

      That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion

      A home and a Country should leave us no more?

      Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.

      No refuge could save the hireling and slave

      From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,

      And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave

      O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 2 weeks ago from Fontana

      Mike, I just looked up the socks and tshirt and they are true. Wild Bill, there is no person on earth who is 100% perfect.

      Wild Bill, it doesn't take away from the validity of the community/police issue. Seahawks' Michael Bennett was tackled and arrested by Las Vegas police last month. They thought they heard gunshots. It turned out that some stage equipment fell and made a noise.

      I won't reiterate what others have done to bring racism to the fore. I do remember that as a child I couldn't eat at food counters becase I was colored. I couldn't sit on the front of the bus, use facilities and water fountains designated for white people, or attend any school I wanted to attend.

      The point is his purpose was not to disrespect the flag or the anthem. When the anthem was written and the flag came into being, we were still slaves. We have had to find our way into ideals which were once extended to whites only. Things are better but not perfect. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't work toward perfect.

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 2 weeks ago from Placentia California

      Wild Bill: What is the source for your claims?

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 2 weeks ago from Placentia California

      Diane: I agree with you. Someone has to take the lead, but it sure as hell isn't going to be Trump when he has ordered military vehicles and weapons for all of law enforcement. He just want to incite more conflict. The more the better for him because it takes the focus off all his conflicts.

    • profile image

      Wild Bill 3 weeks ago

      Well let's see Diane,

      During a training session, Colin wore socks that had pictures of pigs dressed in police uniforms. He went to Miami with a shirt that had a positive picture of Fidel Castro. This is Troll behavior, which means he is using disrespect as a means to instigate arguments.

      Plus, everyone knows that kneeling/sitting during the national anthem is disrespectful. Just because the protestors say that it isn't doesn't make it so. They should just be honest.

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 3 weeks ago from Fontana

      Guys, I expect POTUS to heat up the rhetoric to keep other things from surfacing. The swamp is still hanging around Washington cowering to the sewer.

      It looks like Seahawks have a group plan for activity. I haven't read the details. I did see where Bennett got arrested after the Mayweather fight. They determined that there was no gunshot. A curtain clashed with something and made a loud noise. Thank God Bennett was thinking of his wife and daughters and didn't get angry.

      The hard job is creating that relationship between the community and the officers.

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 3 weeks ago from Placentia California

      Leah: Thank you for your comments. I agree with you. Trump thinks he can suggests firing players, but if they are really good, they will be hard to be replaced. This is not the Apprentice where he fires people every week and they are not replaced. And when a team stands together, should the NFL fire the whole team?

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 3 weeks ago from Placentia California

      Paula: My reference to anybody being president was tongue and cheek. However, it has nothing to do with qualifications. How do you know if a candidate is qualified, when there is no accountability for their promises and pledges once they are in office. Therefore, all one needs is lost of money and the right connections to get them in office.

      Paula, you are reading too much into my not commenting about Hillary. I know how you feel about Hillary and I think you know how I feel about her. You are welcome to comment all you want on my articles.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 3 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Mike....This may be so, in fact, it's been evident as true. However, you can't possibly be promoting anyone with wealth and connection is acceptably qualified to be POTUS....?

      BTW, you pretty much ignored responding to most of my comment. (Mike if you prefer those who despise Hillary, not contribute to your work, that's not a problem...I will comply)

      Thanks.

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 3 weeks ago from Fontana

      Wild Bill I believed him because he articulately stated why he did it. Why would you doubt it?

      Leah, I agree with you. POTUS is trying to MAKE them develop a policy. He wants to dictate everything to his narcissistic liking.

    • thebiologyofleah profile image

      Leah Kennedy-Jangraw 3 weeks ago from Massachusetts

      A few random thoughts-

      Since Kaepernick's initial kneel I have always thought it unfortunate that it could be mis-interpreted as a slight on our military personnel and would take away from the very important issue of racial injustice in the US.

      If there wasn't a policy then and there isn't a policy now in NFL that a player is not allowed to kneel during the anthem then we can't really expect the NFL to punish any of the players for this.

      I worry that this is something that our president is dedicating so much time and effort to, there are much bigger things in our country to focus on then what football players are doing during pregame rituals.

      As you suggested, I am always concerned what Trump is trying to distract us from.

      I appreciate your thoughtful angle on this article and the interpretation of symbols. Thank you for sharing and moderating discussion on this topic.

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 3 weeks ago from Placentia California

      Wild Bill: How can you say, "no one believes it was Colin's intent to be respectful nor peaceful? What is the source for "no one believes?" There are many who do believe it was respectful. His protest was peaceful and it was a year ago. Trump is the one who has revived the issue and changed the narrative to Colin's disrespect of the country. Thanks for your comments.

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 3 weeks ago from Placentia California

      Hi Paula: Thanks for your "brutally honest nature." In reference to your last paragraph: I believe anybody can become the president of the United States, all they need is enough money and the right connections. Thanks for dropping by.

    • profile image

      Wild Bill 3 weeks ago

      The reason this so called "protest" fails on so many levels is because no one believes it was never Colin's intent to be respectful nor peaceful.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 3 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Hi Mike.... On one recent comment thread here, my initial comment was when, as I clearly admitted, I was not fully informed or knowledgeable in terms of what Kapernick's original motive/intention was for his "kneel." I'm curious as to why it is that not much was publicized on those motives, Mike. Perhaps I missed it all but I should think that the media, in particular, would have focused on making certain the public had the facts straight. (?)

      (But I digress)

      In any event, my 1st comment was rather bland & simple although I did lean toward expressing disgust for this behavior as I saw it. Afterward, in reading through the thread, I saw 3 comments that gave very meaningful, sensitive as well as sensible explanations concerning the kneel and it's validity. Fueled always by my brutally honest nature, I was compelled to address these 3 individuals, thank them for their impressive opinions & for giving me

      reason to stand corrected. What this directed me to question, is the probability there are so many others who are misinformed or worse, basically clueless. It looks to me that your article is addressing my question.

      As time goes on, I find that my insistence that the fault for so much of the chaos now, was and is a direct result of the Democrat's fatal error in judgement, in pitting a crooked & seriously flawed female politician against a crooked businessman. The choices were outrageously wretched. Now the piper wants his pay. Paula

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 3 weeks ago from Placentia California

      That's right, Trump manufactured a problem that didn't exist. He now has given the problem to the owners and players of the NFL. He thinks key players and teams can just simply be replaced. He also lied about talking to the owners, because one of the high echelon people in the NFL said that it was not true. Trump is the one who needs to be replaced.

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 3 weeks ago from Fontana

      I agree with you Mike. When you want to solve a problem, you must first understand what the problem is.

    • peoplepower73 profile image
      Author

      Mike Russo 3 weeks ago from Placentia California

      Thank you Diane: You are right. Trump has given us the platform to talk about the injustice. However, without the country hearing what Colin's original intent was, the country will still be divided on these issues. That's the way Trump wants it. A divided country makes the country weak and makes it easier for him to control and hide behind his fraudulent mask of being a president.

    • dianetrotter profile image

      G. Diane Nelson Trotter 3 weeks ago from Fontana

      The flag and anthem are symbolic of American ideals. The kneeling gesture is a protest against the hypocrisy that keeps the American ideals to be fully realized by African Americans.

      If the gesture continues year end/year out, it will be nothing but a gesture. Now is time for the hard conversations. No policy is going to make things better if people don't embrace it. Those who hate will probably have intense hatred. Respect and compassion come from the heart.

      There are 2 issues that should be in urban communities with difficult to discuss dialog:

      1) Integration of policing into the community

      2) People in the community working together to get kids to value each other

      They are both important.

      Donald Trump is certainly not going to help the situation intentionally; however, his tantrums bring attention to the problem. He calls it disrespect and then others get to talk about the issues.