What was the biggest failure of the BLM movements
Black Lives Matter Movement : The NFL turns against Donald Trump
Drew Brees has had a turbulent week. The quarterback of the New Orleans Saints had received harsh criticism with an insensitive statement about protests against police violence after the violent death of the African American George Floyd by a police officer - and then showed remorse.
"I will never agree to anyone who disregards the flag of the United States of America," Drew Brees had said in an interview. He had been asked what he thought of possible protests in the NFL. The massive criticism that Brees then met apparently triggered something - with him and with the National Football League (NFL) itself.
Brees indicated in several reflective apologies that he understood what it was about. And his wife last said: "We are the problem."
He had not yet been noticed with open racism. However, until he understood what the real problem is, he had to get scared first, he had to wake up from a patriotic trance, in which it is easy as a white man to linger.
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Because Brees and with him the entire NFL had to realize that the USA now seems to have reached a level where one can no longer withdraw to superficial patriotism. Because the US flag and the pathos associated with it have become a political issue in these times.
Trump's reaction: "NO KNEE!"
This could best be seen in the reaction of the United States' top defender of the flag: Donald Trump. After Bree's honest apology, the President of the United States tweeted, "I think he really is one of the greatest quarterbacks, but he shouldn't have withdrawn his testimony about honoring our great American flag." There are other things to protest against could, "but not against our great American flag - NO KNEE!"
A clear reference to Colin Kaepernick and other players. The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback knelt before football games in 2016 and 2017 while the national anthem was played to protest police violence. Trump then referred to him as a "son of a bitch".
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The words are clear, the purpose clear. Trump wanted to drag Brees into his world of exclusive patriotism - but Brees resisted. And not only that: He openly turned against the president in another message on Instagram. "We can no longer use the flag to divert or distract people from the real problems that our black community has to deal with." As a white community, one now has to listen and learn from pain and suffering.
Brees wasn't the only one to break a learning curve
But Drew Brees shouldn't be the only one down a steep learning curve. White quarterbacks Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers also sided with the Black Lives Matter movement on social media. And yet the most spectacular reaction was evoked by a video of black football stars.
19 players, including Michael Thomas, Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, read the names of blacks killed in recent years in a cut video - and finally asked the NFL to make the following statement: “We, the National Football League, condemn it Racism and the systematic oppression of black people. We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong by not listening to the NFL players and encourage everyone to speak up and protest peacefully. We, the National Football League, believe that black lives matter. "
What happened next is relatively extraordinary for the NFL - and shows the uniqueness of the situation the US is currently in. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell repeated these words with the same word and thus positioned himself and the league in a heated situation.
In the Colin Kaepernick case, things looked very different. "I don't necessarily agree with what he's doing," Goodell said in 2016 to Kaepernick's protest. In 2018 he said: "We want people to respect the national anthem." At that time he avoided confrontation with Trump - now he is opposing him.
The pressure from the video of the players and the heated situation in the US made sure of that. Because for the NFL, also known as the "Teflon League", political statements are anything but natural. In a 2016 interview, quarterback Aaron Rodgers said, "I think some guys in the NFL are worried about the echo they'd get if they said what they thought." In the same interview he also said that in the Basketball league NBA is more possible.
The NFL is now going to confront the President
But now the NFL is on a course of confrontation with the president - who of course does not put up with it. "Could it be even remotely possible that Roger Goodell indicated in his interesting statement that it is now ok for the players to KNEEL or not to stand for the national anthem and thus disregard our country and our flag?" wrote Trump on Twitter.
And yet the conflict is not safe for Trump. In what is already a delicate situation for him, Trump also takes on the powerful NFL. According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the majority of NFL players are black - 80 percent of NFL viewers are white.
What is happening in the sports world of the United States these days is extraordinary - as is pretty much what is basically happening in the United States right now. There have been many protests against police violence, for example Kaepernick, in 2016 and 2017, for example. He experienced solidarity - but in the end lost his job. In the current situation that would be unthinkable. And that's not least because of the reaction of the white football world.
Within a short space of time, Drew Brees has gone through a development that was previously not a matter of course. Other players joined in, the NFL has shown solidarity with an entire movement and has opposed the president in a not unproblematic manner. The debate about the flag has shown: Pathos-laden patriotism is allowed - but pathos must include the suffering of the black population.
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