Press Releases

Statement from CBC Chairman on Trump, Kaepernick and the NFL

f t # e
WASHINGTON , September 25, 2017 | comments
Today, the Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressman Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA-02), released the following statement in response to President Trump’s recent comments about former NFL player Colin Kaepernick and the NFL’s response to his comments.

“Over the weekend I read more than a dozen statements from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, owners and coaches about President Trump’s petty and prejudiced attack on former NFL Player Colin Kaepernick and other players who choose to exercise their First Amendment right to free speech.

“While a few of these statements mentioned ‘social injustice,’ ‘racial divides,’ and ‘societal issues,’ none of them explicitly mentioned the reason why Mr. Kaepernick and many others (professional athletes, celebrities, elected officials, and citizens) are taking a knee during the National Anthem.

“They are taking a knee to protest police officers who kill unarmed African Americans – men and women, adults and children, parents and grandparents – with impunity. They are taking a knee to protest a justice system that says that being Black is enough reason for a police officer to fear for his or her life.

“Those words were missing from the statements I read despite the fact that 70 percent of NFL players are Black and many of them, as well as their family and friends, have experienced racial profiling by police that leaves too many unarmed African Americans injured or dead. 

“The other thing that was missing from the statements I read was a logical explanation of why Mr. Kaepernick continues to be unemployed. He is not the first professional athlete to call attention to racial injustice and he will not be the last. But the reality is that he is being penalized for doing so. 

“Mr. Kaepernick has a record that is better than many of the active quarterbacks in the league and he is, as one NFL leader put it, in “peaceful pursuit of positive change” for our country. I fail to understand how any and every team in the league could not truly respect his pursuit.

“The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, ‘The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.’ It is easy to condemn President Trump’s comments and ignore the larger issue here – racial profiling by police that disproportionately affects Americans who are the same race as an overwhelming majority of NFL players.

“I call again on President Trump to start acting like a president and to stop acting like a child. It is no surprise that athletes and others do not want to come to the White House when President Trump calls Black athletes who exercise their First Amendment right to free speech ‘a son of bitch’ and calls White men who yell racial epithets ‘very fine people.’ Perhaps President Trump did not notice that many of those White men were carrying the American flag.”
f t # e

Connect with the CBC

Stay connected with the CBC and get news directly to your inbox.