Whether Americans agree with it or not, Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States.
Growing up, I had always known Donald Trump to be this multi-millionaire business man. He had travelled around the world creating Trump resorts, golf courses and many other vastly expensive ventures. He was seen as “out there” and a bit OTT! From very early on, you knew that Trump would bring a very different approach to politics.
Things would undoubtedly be interesting for the rest of us…
Much of the election campaign for his presidency was surrounded by controversy. To this day he continues to shock the world with some of his interviews and tweets which offend people on so many different levels.
•Sports and America•
As many people know, Sports is such a massive part of everyday life and culture in America. In the last few months there have been controversies involving the biggest sporting organisations in America and Donald Trump, dragging him into the limelight for all the wrong reasons- (you could solely blame his twitter account!)
•Trump collides with sports stars•
The NFL (National Football League) is America’s most powerful sporting organisation with TV deals and sponsorships worth hundreds of millions of dollars. It has fans in the States and across the globe who religiously follow their teams, while it also has casual fans (myself included– the annual SuperBowl game may just be an excuse to stay awake drinking with your friends into the wee hours on a Monday morning!)
Most of the star players in this sport come from African American backgrounds and are prime examples of what many believe to be “The American Dream”.
Recently some of these stars have taken it upon themselves to use their high status and fame to showcase what they believe is right by protesting. What could be wrong with this? Everyone has a right to stand up for what they believe in… See the next paragraph for this brilliant pun!
•San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick “takes a kneel”•
During the 2016 season Kaepernick chose not to stand during a pregame playing of the national anthem as a show of protest against police brutality and racism in America. In some quarters he received praise for this, however it was unpopular with the NFL’s more conservative favouring fan base. It prompted many back and forward debates about whether sports stars should be using their stature in order to protest a point of view.
The most important thing from this was that it then prompted other sports stars from across America to realise they could also use their position of social influence to protest for what they believe in.
At a rally in Alabama, Trump took the opportunity to address the predominantly white crowd about his thoughts on the NFL.
“You know what’s hurting the game,” Trump asked, “when people like yourselves turn on television, and you see those people taking the knee when they are playing our great national anthem.”
What was quite shocking about this was the social divide he had immediately created. It was almost as if he liked the idea of the “us against them” mentality. While he used the “people like yourselves” phrase to address the rally crowd, he also branded “those people” – the African American sports stars.
Trump unbelievably went on to advise fans to boycott the NFL and speculated the idea that the NFL club owners should actually fire those players who feel they can protest during the playing of the national anthem.
•Steph Curry’s White house snub•
The NBA is the next major sporting organisation that has seen Trump involved for all the wrong reasons. In Basketball, it has for a long time been seen as a tradition for the winning team from that season to get an invite to the White House to formally meet the President in office. However this year, Golden State Warriors player and MVP Steph Curry (in other words the player of the year for that season) decided that he did not agree with the President’s views on African American citizens and would not be attending the White House with the winning team.
This led to a huge backlash on Twitter. It was so fascinating to see the president of a country getting involved in a confrontation via a social media site!
“Going to the White House is considered a great honour for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!”
LeBron James who is arguably one of the greatest basketball players to play the game replied to Trump with an instant classic which received over half a million RT’s;
•PR and Trump•
Looking ahead to the future it will be interesting to see if Trump continues to publicly say whatever he wants about a certain topic. He famously is known to personally tweet all of the tweets off his account which is rare with someone who has many millions of followers on the platform. You may think that after all of the controversial moments he has had that he may tone it down online and really take care of the matters which America needs taken care of. In my eye’s it is hard to see how Donald Trump can be a genuine leader of the United States while he evidently shows he does not support everyone who is indeed an American citizen.
Daniel Lewis is a final year CAM student at Ulster University. He can be contacted at: LinkedIn