Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith has a very important question for President Donald Trump: Why did the commander-in-chief use such harsh words to criticize NFL players for protesting during the national anthem while he was excruciatingly hesitant to condemn the violent neo-Nazis who held a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia?
“You know me, I don’t always feel comfortable talking about a lot of this stuff,” Smith said during a recent interview with the Kansas City Star. “We’re athletes, we’re playing football. But certainly I’d be lying if I said the comments didn’t upset me.”
The latest row between the NFL and Trump started with the president saying any protesting player was a “son of a b****” and encouraging owners to fire them. The boisterous business mogul was referring to the series of silent protests condemning police brutality against African-American communities, initiated last season by then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Although Kaepernick has since been unemployed, his actions motivated athletes across the country to raise their voices for the cause by taking the knee during the national anthem. However, the movement gained a new momentum over the weekend as NFL players, coaches, support staff and even some owners knelt, linked arms or stayed off the field during “The Star-Spangled Banner” to send a direct message to the Trump administration.
“I’ve been in this league a long time,” Smith continued. “The league’s not perfect. But I’m definitely proud of a lot of my teammates, coaches, trainers, owners …There are so many good things, great things that go on in this league. … It struck a chord a little bit to see guys get attacked for a peaceful protest.”
The star quarterback also dragged Trump for attacking NFL players for holding a silent, peaceful demonstration for their rights but blaming “both sides” — the anti-racist counter-protesters as well as the white nationalists chanting “death to Jews” — for the violence in Charlottesville that claimed three lives.
“It’s the same guy who couldn’t condemn violent neo-Nazis. And he’s condemning guys taking a knee during the anthem,” Smith added, according to The Hill. “There are bigger issues out there that he probably should be worried about. But for some reason the NFL is on his mind.”
Truer words have never been spoken.
Trump’s fondness for white supremacists is no secret, considering he filled his White House with people who support and follow that very same ideology.
“What about the alt-left that came charging at the — as you say, the alt-right?” Trump had said shortly after the Virginia rally. “Do they have any semblance of guilt? What about the fact they came charging with clubs in their hands, swinging clubs? Do they have any problem? I think they do. As far as I am concerned, that was a horrible, horrible day.”
Thumbnail/Banner: Kelvin Kuo-USA Today Sports via Reuters