Athletes talking politics are here to stay. After a long NFL season that started with Colin Kaepernick’s kneel heard round the league, a variety of athletes continue to speak out about Trump and politics in general.
Trump’s presidency seems to be sparking increased activism and dialogue amongst athletes from all sports.
You can't buy this feeling, you earn this feeling. You can't buy this moment, you earn this moment. No one deserves championships, you must go out and earn championships. We earned this championship. No one can ever take that away from the 2016 @patriots football team. #theimaginationagency would only let me tag 20 people. Lol
Six New England Patriots players–Martellus Bennett, Devin McCourty, Dont’a Hightower, LeGarrette Blount, Chris Long and Alan Branch–are not going to the White House visit that celebrates their Super Bowl LI win. Bennett, McCourty and Blount have all cited their opposition to President Trump as their main reason for not attending.
"If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, Or being lied about, don't deal in lies, Or being hated, don't give way to hating, And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise: If you can dream – and not make dreams your master; If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim; If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same; If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken, And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools: If you can make one heap of all your winnings And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings And never breathe a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew To serve your turn long after they are gone, And so hold on when there is nothing in you Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!' If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, ' Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch, if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds' worth of distance run, Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And – which is more – you'll be a Man, my son!"
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who has been friends with Trump for years, said Tuesday to NBC Sports that “everyone has their own choice” in whether they want to go but that it wasn’t political for him. Brady skipped the Super Bowl victory visit while President Obama was in office in 2015 because he said he had a prior “family commitment,” although sightings of him at Gillette Stadium and the Apple Store in New York City the same day raised questions.
Bennett’s brother, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, joined in on a boycott of an international kind. He chose not attend a trip with other NFL players to Israel once he discovered that the trip’s itinerary was organized by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government as a way to bolster positive public perception of the country.
“I was not aware, until reading this article about the trip in the Times of Israel, that my itinerary was being constructed by the Israeli government for the purposes of making me, in the words of a government official, an ‘influencer of and opinion-former’ who would then be an ‘ambassador of good will,’” Michael Bennett wrote in a letter on social media. “I will not be used in such a way.”
Maryum Ali, famed boxer Muhammad Ali’s daughter, followed in her father’s activist footsteps and wrote a Newsweek column about Trump and Islamophobic sentiments felt by some throughout the country.
“Despite facts and statistics pertaining to Islam and the impact of terrorism on our soil, hate and fear have returned to the White House, where there is an attempt to wind the clocks back to a time when the U.S. Constitution protected only the liberties of white men,” Ali wrote.
Athletes, including Toronto Raptors player Kyle Lowry and U.S. Women’s National Team soccer player Megan Rapinoe, took to social media and spoke out at press conferences in a show of solidarity against Trump’s executive order banning visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries.