President Donald Trump is unhappy with the news that both the NFL (National Football League) and MLS (Major League Soccer) intend to relax their stance on players protesting during the playing of the National Anthem, and has said that he will not be watching matches when they return to the screens.
The practise of kneeling during the playing of Star-Spangled Banner originated with San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016 as a protest against racism in sport and society. It was soon copied by a number of other NFL players, much to the fury of Trump and other Republican politicians, who called on players who disrespected the anthem to be either banned or sacked.
In response, in May 2018, the NFL tried to institute a ban, with teams fined in the event that players refused to stand during the anthem, although that was suspended after two months following a wave of protests.
US soccer introduced its own ban after Megan Rapinoe, star of the US Women’s team, kneeled before a game in a gesture of solidarity with Kaepernick.
However, in the wake of the worldwide protests which have followed on from the death of the Afro-American man George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis, both the NFL and the MLS have performed U-turns and reversed their previous positions.
Last week the NFL said that it had been wrong to ban the protests and that players should be allowed to protest during the playing of the anthem. They have also acknowledged the immense contribution that black players have made to the NFL, and that they should have listened to their protests earlier.
And, on Thursday, US Soccer also said that it was changing its policy, and players will be allowed to protest before games.
Trump is not happy at all. However, to paraphrase from the film Gone with The Wind, which has suddenly found itself on the proscribed list because of its supposed racist undertones “Frankly my dear, who gives a damn?”