President Donald Trump's comments regarding the protests by NFL players sparked more players, including Bucs, to kneel during Sunday's pregame ceremonies.
Let's look beyond where you might stand on the controversy and ask: How could anyone who wants players to stand in reverent silence during the national anthem believe that goal could be achieved by publicly referring to their mothers as dogs? How can you earn respect from the league by showing none?
The president exacerbated a divisive issue with no reasonable aim toward a solution. Either he made the choice to boost his popularity with a dog-whistle rant to his most ardent supporters. Or, he possesses a reckless disregard for the power of his words and a shortsighted view of expectations for the office. We need common ground, not scorched earth.
On the night of his election, the president pledged to be a "president for all Americans."
Yet in the face of North Korean nuclear bomb threats, terrorist attacks and the longest ongoing war in U.S. history, the president chose to throw fuel on a fire that needed to be quelled. He has a greater responsibility than feeding red meat to his base.
He could have expressed disagreement in a manner that reflected a deeper understanding of the protests, the players' many philanthropic acts and the positive intent of their stand.
Intent? The players could easily choose to eschew their platforms and rest on wealthy salaries. That some exercise their constitutional rights in an effort to help the least of their brothers deserves a degree of admiration, even if you object. They're risking their careers for a principle.
No one should understand that more than the president.
That's all I'm saying.