AuthorZirin, Dave
PositionEDGE OF SPORTS - Column

One aspect of the upcoming presidential election that hasn't gotten a lot of attention is whether we are comfortable with a President who uses sports as a spittoon for his racist expectorations.

The games we play have always been important to Donald Trump. We know this not just because of his lies about being a baseball prodigy or his penchant for cheating at golf. It's been almost forty years since he bought the New Jersey Generals in the upstart United States Football League before driving the entire league, with all of its talent and potential, into bankruptcy.

In 2014, Trump made an effort to buy into the NFL, placing a bid on the Buffalo Bills. Alas, NFL owners thought Trump was too tacky and his finances too scurrilous to be a part of their club, although they later would find him more than acceptable to be their President, as shown by the millions they gave to his inaugural committee.

If Trump had been able to buy the Buffalo Bills, he may never have sought the presidency on a publicity lark--proving once again that the Bills will always let us down.

Yet these efforts to find respectability and gratification for Trump's bottomless ego in the world of sports pale in comparison to how he has sought to exploit sports for political gain.

It started in August 2016, when Trump was still a candidate. Colin Kaepernick took the knee heard round the world, protesting police violence during the national anthem. Trump derided Kaepernick for this bold--and, we now know, prophetic--act of dissent, saying "Maybe he should find a country that works better for him."

Kaepernick has been a punching bag for Trump ever since, most infamously when he called him and other NFL players who were protesting police violence "sons of bitches" at a speech in Huntsville, Alabama. Trump in 2018 also went after the very citizenship of protesting Black NFL players, saying, "Maybe you shouldn't be in the country."

Trump's wrath for Black athletes contrasts sharply from his view of outspoken white figures in the sports world. He never responded to the harsh criticism of his Muslim travel ban voiced by white NBA coaches Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich. Even when soccer rebel Megan Rapinoe declared, "I'm not going to the fucking White House," he still invited...

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