Trump’s weekend antics distract from issues that actually matter

Salience Should not be on Sports

Sports have long been considered America’s guilty pleasure, a distraction from the doom and gloom of politics.

Other than the obvious rivalry between a home and away team, sports should not be a divisive factor for Americans. Quite frankly, there are more pressing manners the President and nation should be worried about instead of sports.

And it pains me to say that as a lifelong sports fan and former Hilltop Views sports editor, it’s saddening to see hypocritical anger being spewed onto athletes and managers who don’t just “stick to sports” — especially from politicians who are not sticking to politics and creating meaningful legislation.

On Sept. 23, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that he was withdrawing a White House visit invitation to the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors after point guard Stephen Curry voiced hesitation. Trump later encouraged the NFL and other leagues to fire those who “disrespect our Great american flag.”

“I think the President should be talking about he fact that there was a missile launch in Iran yesterday versus talking about the NFL or the Golden State Warriors,” U.S. Congressman Will Hurd (R-TX) said at a panel during the Texas Tribune Festival, noting that media should be doing the same.

Nevermind that the U.S. could be on the brink of World War III with North Korea, or that 70,000 American citizens are facing “apocalyptic” conditions after Hurricane María made landfall in Puerto Rico. What about the repeal and replacement of Obamacare or DACA?

Instead, people are fixated on who is standing and kneeling for the National Anthem.

Two sports moments occurred Sept. 24 that define both sides of National Anthem etiquette involving a man alone amongst his teammates.

Army Ranger-turned-NFL offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva stood alone at the end of the visiting team tunnel during the National Anthem while the rest of his Pittsburgh Steelers teammates lingered out of sight as a form of protest against Trump’s tyrannical attack on First Amendment rights.  

Meanwhile, Oakland Athletics catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first MLB player to kneel for the National Anthem, keeping his hand on his heart as a sign of respect for the military. The African-American baseball player took a knee while all other A’s stood firmly upon the first base line.

In regards to my thoughts on the National Anthem debate, I think athletes should follow suit of America’s Team. Monday night, the Dallas Cowboys knelt in “unity” before the National Anthem, then stood in attention for the patriotic music with their arms interlocked.