Just as Donald Trump has forced himself onto sports, now sports stars are forcing themselves onto politics. LeBron James, Jemele Hill, Stephen Curry, and the OG who started it all Colin Kaepernick suddenly find themselves smack dab in the middle of a war.
Unsurprisingly, people have their back.
Yesterday, Hakeem Jeffries — a democratic congressman from Brooklyn — took to the house floor to attack Trump, and to ask the bigger question: In the middle of an investigation determining whether Trump is guilty of treason for colluding with Russia to rig the election, how are sports stars the unpatriotic ones?
For all y’all who can’t watch the video (at work or whatever), I’ll transcribe the clip in its entirety. Emphasis, when used, is my own.
“Mr. Speaker, on the question of race, we clearly have come a long way in America, but we still have a long way to go. There are some in this country who wanna sugarcoat the African American experience in the great United States of America. But the facts are the facts.
In this country, the African American community has been forced to endure slavery, rape, kidnap, lynching, Jim Crow segregation, mass incarceration, and a police brutality epidemic that continues to this very day. It was in this context that athletes like Colin Kaepernick bravely chose to kneel down so that others may have the courage to stand up.
There are some who have criticized these athletes as “unpatriotic.” But their actions are uniquely American. Liberty and justice for all is an American value. Equal protection under the law, that’s an American value. Freedom of speech and expression — as embedded in the First Amendment — that’s an American value.
And yet there’s criticism coming even from folks in the White House. I find this ironic because this is the same group of people at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue who regularly refuse to criticize Vladamir Putin, and defend Russia’s interference with our election, undermining American democracy for the first time in our nation’s history.
How dare you lecture us about what’s patriotic?!
And so I just came to the house floor to make it clear to all of the athletes across this great country who have chosen to stand up and confront injustice in our society that there are members of the United States congress who have your back.
Steph Curry, we have your back. LeBron James, we have your back. Coach Mike Tomlin, we have your back. You stand on the shoulders of giants like Joe Lewis, Wilma Rudolph, Jackie Robinson, Jim Brown, Bill Russell, Muhammad Ali, and so many others who, throughout the annals of time, chose to confront injustice in America to make us a better place. And now you’ve taken the baton. And thankfully you’re doing the same exact thing.
We should be grateful. God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.”
I’ll tell you one thing, this sure as hell stuck out, huh?
How dare you lecture us about what’s patriotic?!”
And, lastly, in case you needed any further reason to get behind Mr. Jeffries’ message, check this out:
Go get it, Hakeem.