Howard Bryant Says President Trump Dragging Athletes into Culture War

NewsBusters | 6/11/2018 | Staff
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On Saturday ESPN Radio's "The Sporting Life," host Jeremy Schaap and ESPN Senior Writer Howard Bryant discussed "the increasingly rocky relationship between Trump and athletes." Author of "The Heritage: Black Athletes, a Divided America, and the Politics of Patriotism," Bryant said President Donald Trump is dragging athletes into a culture war and the new no-kneeling rule he forced on the owners was a "stab in the back."

Schaap started the interview by asking Bryant for a reaction to this week's Trump withdrawal of an invitation to the Super Bowl champion Eagles to a White House celebration, which only a handful of players and the mascot agreed to attend. Bryant responded:

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"We're in the middle of a culture war, and we can see that the president sees this as not only something that he can capitalize off of politically, but also something that the players now have to make a decision on, in that is the White House visit respect for the office or a repudiation of him? And I think that what we saw with the Eagles—they did not see it as you just kinda go even if you don't like the guy in office because you have so much respect for the office and who gets to go to the White House in our lifetime. I think they really viewed this as no, it's a direct repudiation of you, we're not going. Not because we disagree with your foreign policy, but because we disagree with you period."

To Bryant, the deal breaker for the Eagles who weren't planning to attend was Trump's September speech in Alabama when he called kneeling protesters SOBs.

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"And I think that is a direct reaction from what the president did in September, calling the players SOBs and questioning their citizenship and questioning whether or not they even belonged...
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