20,000 signatures reached
To: NFL Players, Fans, Coaches and Personnel
We’re asking anyone at an NFL game this weekend to take a knee --not only in solidarity with countless athlete-activists’ right to protest; but in defiance of Donald Trump’s ruthless targeting of Black athletes and journalists. For those not on the field, we ask you to support and continue the conversations on the importance of free speech on social media (#takeaknee) and in real life
Why is this important?
We understand that this is a conversation about Power, and recognize that our Constitutional rights of free speech should not be granted to some and strategically limited for others.
Twice in as many weeks, Donald Trump has come for the livelihood of Black athletes and journalists who continue to speak out against injustice at great risk to their safety, employment and their ability to pursue passions to which they’ve dedicated their lives. First, he called for the firing of Jemele Hill for tweeting her opinion on her social media platform. This week, at a rally in Alabama, Trump used coded language calling for NFL owners to “fire” athletes who are expressing their freedom of speech, to speak out in protest of police brutality and systemic racism and inequality. Athletes like Michael Bennett, Eric Reid, Colin Kaepernick and so many others.
Perhaps he was feeling emboldened by NFL buddies like Dan Snyder (Washington), Shad Khan (Jaguars), Bob McNair (Texans), Robert Kraft (Patriots), Woody Johnson (Jets) and Stan Kroenke (Rams), all of whom each contributed $1 Million to his inauguration. He's also seen the league's owners refuse to sign Colin Kaepernick and has even taken credit in the past for getting him blackballed. This time Trump felt emboldened enough to call for NFL owners to instruct personnel that if players do not stand for the flag they should “get that son of a b---- off the field right now…” This is yet again another example of Trump’s long history of intimidating and silencing dissent.
Trump has continued to suggest that "great American values" are limited to those who go along with business as usual, and don't speak out against systemic racism and oppression. Everyone in the NFL, especially NFL Leadership, must understand that the 'respect for players' stated in their press release after Trump's disturbing remarks should also mean respecting the rights of players to exercise their freedom of speech however they choose. It is time the league acts by supporting their players right to speak out.
We’re in a pivotal moment when everyday Americans and athletes with shared values of justice and equity are using their powerful voices to say enough is enough--no more racism, no more anti-Muslim bigotry, no more misogyny, and no more Trump! We must continue to support the athletes and everyday men and women that are risking their livelihoods to kneel for justice.
Dissent in part of America's culture and history. To quote the late author James Baldwin, 'I love America more than any country in the world and, exactly for that reason, I Insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.'