American footballers’ campaign of protests against police brutality and racism is rippling throughout the United States and sparking demonstrations beyond the National Football League (NFL).
With growing anger over right-wing US President Donald Trump’s criticism of NFL players who kneel during the customary national anthem at the beginning of games, activists have targeted team owners and politicians with their own demonstrations, and high school and college athletes have also followed suit.
On Tuesday, Carl Dix and Linda Solotaire, both members of the RefuseFascism.org activist group, confronted Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones at the Conrad New York Hotel lobby.
As the pair shouted at Jones and accused him of upholding white supremacy, the Cowboys owner was whisked away by his security team.
Dix, a 69-year-old African American, said he and his fellow protesters had gathered at the hotel to rally against the NFL owners meeting there.
What was the context surrounding those first protests?
Police brutality has become an incredibly polarising and contentious issue in American life. This has come as a result of repeated videos showing police shooting and killing unarmed black men, which have been posted online and gone viral — illustrating the brutality that black people in America must contend with when dealing with some police officers, who often do not serve any prison time for pulling the trigger.
Why is it gaining steam now?
Mr Trump became a catalyst for the protest Friday when he said during a campaign rally in Alabama, saying he wished that NFL players would be fired for kneeling during the national anthem.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b**** off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired,’” Mr Trump said. “You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it [but] they’ll be the most popular person in this country.”
President Trump has today tweeted on the subject once more:
Two dozen NFL players continue to kneel during the National Anthem, showing total disrespect to our Flag & Country. No leadership in NFL!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 23, 2017
With Many detractors from the liberal side:
— Trumpton (@Trump_ton) September 25, 2017
— ✊🏿 (@mrgeter) October 23, 2017