When Kaepernick first chose not to stand for the national anthem at an NFL game last year, politics seeped into the game and haven’t left since.
It would seem Barack Obama blames President Trump for politicizing football. During a paid speech on health care, he told listeners, “Our big problem right now is politics. Can’t even get it out of football.”
While his comment about politics in football didn’t target Trump directly, it is highly suspicious considering that the comment occurred after Trump’s controversial statements over the weekend and not during the Kaepernick protests or other players protesting throughout the year.
It’s also incredibly hypocritical that he would criticize anyone for seeking to politicize football, considering he did just that throughout his presidency. Since 2013, Obama and his administration have tried to influence the Washington Redskins into changing their name out of concerns for political correctness and offending fans of the NFL.
In 2013 he sided with opponents of the Washington Redskins who considered the name of the team offensive to Native Americans. Speaking to reporters he said, “If I were the owner of the team and I knew that the name of my team, even if they’ve had a storied history, that was offending a sizable group of people, I’d think about changing it.”
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said while fans should be considered, it’s the Redskins owner’s decision. “If one person’s offended, we have to listen. And ultimately, it is Dan [Snyder]’s decision. But it is something that I want all of us to go out and make sure we’re listening to our fans, listening to people who have a different view, and making sure that we continue to do what’s right.”
That the Obama administration also participated heavily in the lawsuits trying to force the Redskins name change by denying trademark rights. The lawsuit would prevent the Redskins from renewing their trademarks and patents under the Redskins name.
Obama’s acting assistant attorney general, Joyce R. Branda, said the DOJ sided with the prosecutors to protect the “cultural heritage” of Native Americans. “I believe strongly in the rights of all Americans to celebrate and maintain their unique cultural heritage.”
The Obama administration was seriously considering blocking the construction of a new stadium for the team because of the controversy surrounding the name. Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser was informed by the interior secretary, Sally Jewell, that the Obama administration would not work with or accommodate the construction until the name was changed.
Considering Obama and his administration engaged in the political controversy surrounding the Redskins for several years, it’s hypocritical for him to comment on the politics surrounding the statement made by Trump over the weekend.
Furthermore, it’s interesting that Obama and other Democrats would push the Redskins to change their name because it offended fans, yet don’t seem to care that the current protests against the national anthem are offending fans.
While many could agree with Obama’s statement that it’s unfortunate that politics has found its way onto the field, he should also hold himself responsible for the number of years he and his administration waged political war with the Washington Redskins.