Despite President Trump’s insistence that his criticisms of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem has “nothing to do with race,” a number of media commentators and reporters have rushed to racially inflammatory accusations and rhetoric in response.
The controversy started last Friday after President Trump, during a stump speech in Alabama for Luther Strange, criticized NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.
Trump said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired! He’s fired!'”
The trend was popularized by Colin Kaepernick, a former player for the San Francisco 49ers who began kneeling in fall of 2016 to protest police brutality against African-Americans. (RELATED: Liberals Freak Out When Trump Calls Out NFL Players For Kneeling During Games)
President Trump, however, has insisted that his criticisms over the national anthem have “nothing to do with race.”
Trump tweeted Monday, “The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!”
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders echoed this line, saying, “The president is not talking about race, the president is talking about pride in our country.”
CNN in particular has aired very divisive rhetoric over the controversy.
A panelist on CNN stated that President Trump was using, “racial code for the n-word” in calling kneeling NFL players “sons of b*tches.” (RELATED: Excuse Me? CNN Panelist Says Trump Criticizing Kaepernick Is ‘Racial Code For The N-Word)
A Wolf Blitzer panel also stated that it was “revealing” that Trump praised “overwhelmingly white NASCAR.
CNN’s Keith Boykin stated that Trump thinks he’s a “slave master” of black athletes.
“It’s about fanning the flames of racial hatred and this president is a master of that, and that’s the reason he’s playing the plantation politics,” he said, adding, “He thinks he is a slave master of black people in the NFL–of black people in the country–he’s attacking Jemele Hill and Colin Kaepernick and Steph Curry.”
Fox News host Tucker Carlson played a clip on his show Thursday of CNN commentators using extreme and inflammatory rhetoric in reference to Trump:
CNN also published an article titled, “The #TakeAKnee protests have always been about race. Period,” outlining the “black roots” of the protest.
Late night television has similarly hammered the racial angle.
In a segment Tuesday titled, “Trump’s NFL Comments Have Everything To Do With Race,” Stephen Colbert said, “Kneeling during the national anthem has everything to do with race–just like your presidency.”
TBS’ Samantha Bee compared the millionaire athletes to slave working on a field, stating, “Hey, wow! And what a conversation we’re having! Talking about black people and their owners and how they should be grateful for the privilege of working on a field. Who says Trump is taking us backwards?!” (RELATED: Samantha Bee Compares Millionaire Athletes To Slaves ‘Working On A Field’ [VIDEO])
Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah said this week, “I don’t know if Trump is racist, but I do know he definitely prefers white people to black people. I can say that with confidence.”
Jimmy Kimmel said, “Trump said his criticism had nothing to do with race. And whenever the president says it has nothing do with race, it 100 percent has everything to do with race.”
Guillaume Pierre-Louis contributed to this report.