How Not to Stop a Protest (as demonstrated by our president)
On Wednesday, The Washington Post released some interesting data regarding the Kneelers V. Trump pseudo-war. Counting protest-supporters (i.e. the 49ers who put their hands on Eric Reid’s shoulders), there were about 24 protesters during weeks one and two, before Trump started tweeting about the issue. After Trump’s September 24th tweet on week three, though? Protests skyrocketed, and they’ve stayed strong since then. One would think that a league with a conservatively-skewed following would react strongly to Trump’s words, but the protests continue. More and more teams are starting to protest , and very few teams are benching players over their protests.
Isn’t it fascinating that the number of football players kneeling during the national anthem is directly correlated to the amount of tweets Trump makes on the subject? It’s almost as if the attention he’s bringing to the issue is completely backfiring.
No, seriously though, that’s exactly how protests (and arguments in general) work. The more others criticize you, the louder you’ll want to shout. Had Trump not given so much attention to these protesters, the movement never would’ve gotten the publicity it needed to take off. Before this point, players like Kaepernick were privately fired for their actions. The NFL threatened players enough to discourage protesting, but kept the political situation on the down-low so that no one would get offended by their actions.
After Trump? These players have the support of the entire half of America that despises everything Trump says. Now, if these coaches fire protesting players, they’re the crazy ones. They’re the bigots. And as such, they’re stuck allowing the protests to continue until the hype dies down.
If Trump wanted players to stop protesting during the national anthem, this is exactly the opposite of what he should have done. Yelling your problems away works about 0% of the time.