One thing about actor/activist Jesse Williams, he knows how to get to the essence of the matter. And that would apply to President Trump‘s comments regarding NFL players who choose to kneel in protest during the singing of the national anthem.
Wiliams took it a step further and questioned the necessity for pageantry in sports at all.
As you no doubt know by now, this past weekend, NFL players openly responded to Trump’s comments in Alabama about NFL players he called “sons of bitches” for protesting the national anthem.
Williams was on with Thomas Roberts on MSNBC and questioned why the anthem is even included in games. He also said Trump was “a very horrible, a guy who thinks he’s a dictator, who treats America like it’s a game show.”
“It’s also important to realize this anthem thing is a scam,” Williams said. “This is not actually part of football. This was invented in 2009 from the government paying the NFL to market military recruitment to get more people to go off and fight wars to die.”
“This has nothing to do with [the] NFL, or American pastime, or tradition,” Williams continued. “This is to get boys and girls to go fly overseas and go kill people. They’re marketing. They’re pumping millions and millions of dollars into the NFL to get us to put on a pageant in front of the NFL football games to get you to go off and fight.”
It appears Williams is referencing “paid patriotism” criticism that was documented in a 2015 Senate report that pointed to more than $12 million in contracts between the Defense Department and sports teams, CNN previously reported. Millions of dollars went to renting recruitment kiosks and staging patriotic and “heartwarming” tributes at games.
“This not only betrays the sentiment and trust of fans, but casts an unfortunate shadow over the genuine patriotic partnerships that do so much for our troops,” the congressional report stated.
As for the NFL specifically, a Vice report reminds that players were not required to be on the field during the anthem until 2009.
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(Photo Credit: Izumi Hasegawa / PR Photo)