The Donald has arguably been one of the worst presidential candidates in recent memory. It's very likely there are a great number of people who thought that before last week, which is when his old, lewd comments about grabbing women's body parts at his leisure surfaced.
We've talked about everything from his taxes, his stance against the DNA evidence proving the innocence of the Central Park Five, and his belief that most American ills can be traced to immigrants who are simply looking for a better life. His candidacy, and what it says about this country,and who he is as an entity of discord, has been examined from a multitude of angles.
And now, the discussion has shifted to America's favorite and most popular sport. Last year, Tom Brady was in the middle of a miniature storm of controversy when a Donald Trump hat was spotted in his locker.
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Recently, Brady has had to refute any political endorsement, but has said that Trump was a good friend of his. For his part, Trump has said that he believes Brady would give his endorsement if asked to do so.
Over the years, Trump has been involved in professional football with his USFL venture, and had been mentioned as a possible investor on NFL team bids. There's a story floating around now that he may invest in the Buffalo Bills.
Over the summer, I wrote a piece titled "Outing Athletes Who Stump for Racist Trump", which went after athletes and coaches alike who engaged in political propaganda in either words or action in favor of the faux billionaire turned would be comic book super villain. Primary among them were Mike Tyson, Charles Barkley and former Indiana Hoosiers coach Bobby Knight. With the heightened atmosphere of player activism currently rippling through the NFL we have a clear counter to the Trump way of thinking in place among many black NFL players.
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The debate over police brutality and free speech has been placed in a high pressure dialectic within NFL locker rooms, according to a Bleacher Report article by Mike Freeman titled "Donald Trump is Tearing the NFL Apart."
Quoted in the article was a four minute speech by Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan at a Trump rally.
“There’s so many things I admire about Mr. Trump, but one thing I really admire about him is—you know what—he’ll say what’s on his mind,” Ryan said. “And so many times, you’ll see people—a lot of people—want to say the same thing. But there’s a big difference: They don’t have the courage to say it. They all think it, but they don’t have the courage to say it. And Donald Trump certainly has the courage to say it.”
One must ponder what exactly it is about Donald Trump that Ryan so admires. Is it the xenophobia, misogyny, the failed business ventures or straight up racism? It's really hard to tell. Well, that speech didn't go over so well with an unnamed black player.
“Rex is such an open-minded guy, a really good person,” said the player, who asked to remain anonymous. “But the fact he could back someone as closed-minded as Trump genuinely shocked me.”
Rex Ryan has always been deemed a players' coach. The kind of guy who goes to bat for the men who strap on battle armor for him on Sundays. These players, many of them black, believed in Ryan through his mediocre win-loss record and limited playoff success. Yet, it is this that draws ire.
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“Some of the African-American players on the team weren’t happy about Rex doing that,” the source continued.
Though there have been an unfortunate cavalcade of black sports figures who have come out in support of Donald Trump, the overwhelming and largely silent majority are white. Players like the aforementioned Tom Brady, known affectionately by some as Captain America, and even alleged locker room bully Ritchie Incognito of the Buffalo Bills, believe Trump is what America needs. But, wait, there's more!
According to a Bleacher Reporter survey, 21 of 22 white NFL players plan to vote for Trump opposed to 2 of 22 black NFL players planning to do the same.
“Black guys will talk about it to each other,” ESPN analyst and two-time Super Bowl champion Damien Woody said of Trump. “White guys may talk about it to each other. But I think white players will tap around it with black players. “The locker room normally isn’t politically correct,” he continued. “I know from talking to players things are different when it comes to Trump.”
In his article, Freeman also mentioned two NFC teammates, both of whom are linebackers, reexamining their friendship due to one's support of Donald Trump. As you may have guessed, the Trump supporter isn't the black guy.
The commentators and prognosticators are losing their minds at the thought of QB Colin Kaepernick possibly replacing struggling San Francisco 49ers signal caller Blaine Gabbert in the starting line up. His stance on protesting the national anthem due to police brutality and overall social injustice for people of color in America has many closed-minded folks enraged.
Yet, there's not a peep about Donald Trump's disgusting sexism, his scare-mongering tactics, his disrespect for the president of the United States, and his already obvious knack for being a complete scumbag.
That doesn't say much about Trump, because most already know who he is by now. However, as black and white teammates struggle to reconcile their political and personal viewpoints for the greater good of team unity, they may increasingly find the devil's details aren't only being voiced at right wing rallies and on presidential debates, but in the locker room stall right next door.