Jeneé Osterheldt

Trump’s NFL tirade shows the nation who he really is: A white supremacist

Donald Trump is the president America deserves.

He’s forcing the country to take the mask off, to confront its systemically oppressive ways, to deal with the fact that xenophobia, homophobia, sexism, able-ism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and, yes, racism, are real. Say it with me: Racism is real.

He spoke in Alabama Friday night, supposedly for a rally to support Sen. Luther Strange in the state’s Republican primary. But then he decided to target black men advocating for equality and justice, to make their erasure at least as important as North Korea and American health care. He only added further proof to a truth everyone needs to stop denying.

“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. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’” said Trump, the president of the United States of America.

He just disrespected the mamas of former 49er Colin Kaepernick, Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters and so many more men who’ve been raising their fists, kneeling and sitting out “The Star-Spangled Banner” because they want their flag and the country’s anthem to actually live up to the freedom they symbolize. But he called some of those neo-Nazis terrorizing Charlottesville “very fine people.” What did we expect?

ESPN anchor Jemele Hill wasn’t lying when she tweeted about Trump, and writer Ta-Nehisi Coates brilliantly broke it down, too: Donald Trump is a white supremacist.

His track record is clear: denying black people housing, his Islamophobia, xenophobia and outright disregard for Mexican humanity. His first inclination after Charlottesville was to condemn “violence on many sides.” Yes, let’s just ignore the “Jews will not replace us” chants, the “White Lives Matter” cheers, torches and the clubs.

It’s so easy to see “very fine people” among white supremacists yet equate danger to blackness. Trump has an old slave master-like obsession with breaking strong black men and silencing black women.

First, Trump took credit for the blackballing of Kaepernick, who still doesn’t have an NFL job. Then, earlier this month, we had White House press secretary Sarah Sanders calling Hill’s tweet about Trump a “fireable offense by ESPN.” Abuse of power, much?

And now we have the president at a rally telling American citizens that the owner who fires a player for protesting “will be the most popular person in this country.” He went so far as to say that protests are hurting the game more than brain injuries and the desire to eliminate rough tackles. He told people they should just tune out or leave the stadium when they see a player protest. No free speech for black people. No right to protest. How dare you want freedom, equality and justice, y’all?

Because of Trump’s intolerance, Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry planned to vote no in the team’s decision to take part in the White House championship visit. Trump heard this and withdrew the invite.

Yes, because a black person with a brain and a voice is a threat to the American way. Isn’t that thinking at the root of Trump’s obsession with denying then-President Barack Obama’s citizenship and undermining his intelligence?

Perhaps this is what happens when a rich reality TV star who gets off on debasing and firing people storms into the White House. Or maybe we’re watching the institutional racism that has been remixed and masked in mass incarceration, mortgage discrimination, redlining and more stack together like Voltron and become a president.

But we’re not going to back down. We won’t shut up. And we’re not going back to Africa. As CNN commentator Angela Rye said, we built this joint for free. And we’ll be here to fight for our rights.

The Warriors clapped back with class, noting that since they weren’t welcome at the White House, they’d be making a trip to the capital in February “to celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion — the values that we embrace as an organization.”

From NBA star LeBron James to the NFL commissioner to Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley, sports giants spoke out against Trump’s divisiveness.

“The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement released Saturday morning. “There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we’ve experienced over the last month. Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.”

Across the NFL on Sunday players, including several Chiefs, knelt, raised their fists, locked arms or stayed in the locker room during the national anthem.

It’s time that everyone, no matter what color, religion or orientation, take a knee. We need to be better than Trump, a president who stands for oppression. You think politics has no place on the football field? White supremacy shouldn’t be welcome in the White House.

Jeneé Osterheldt: 816-234-4380, @jeneeinkc