Over the last 48 hours, Donald Trump and the world of sports have dominated the headlines. After Trump’s comments at a rally in Alabama, stars from the NBA and NFL have responded either online or in the form of protest on the field. Sometimes both. Just a few days ago, Bruce Maxwell of the Oakland Athletics was the first player from the MLB to take a knee during the national anthem.
News of more protests and more comments continue to be shared as the day goes on, and now they have made their way into the world of golf. Peter Malnati, winner of the 2015 Sanderson Farms Championship and member of the PGA Tour, released his own thoughts on the matter Sunday morning. Here is his tweet with the comments in full below.
“Sport is amazing. Though athletic rivalries may divide us playfully, sport unites us. It has an amazing power to transcend differences that everyday life cannot. Think about the Olympic Games. Think Jackie Robinson. Think Yankee stadium the first game back after 9/11/2001. Think JJ Watt and the money he recently raised for Hurricane Harvey ($31 + million). Sport is the backdrop for some of the best in humanity.
Today will be a big day. Following Donald Trump’s comments in which he called any players who kneel during the national anthem a “son of a bitch,” sport will be on display today in a big way, and the reaction, almost certainly, will not be unifying. It will be divisive. Just like our “leader.”
I ask you to think about something. What do the United States flag and the national anthem represent? Yes, they represent the fallen heroes who have died protecting this nation. But what exactly are the principles for which those heroes sacrificed? They have sacrificed for freedom–for “liberty and justice, for all.” They sacrificed to uphold and defend the ideals of the United States: compassion, empathy, equality, and hope for a better life.
Those who kneel during the national anthem aren’t disrespecting the heroes who sacrificed to defend the United States. Those who kneel are pointing out that as a nation, we are not doing a good job of upholding the values for which people sacrificed. The current administration in Washington has made it very clear they don’t want the United States to be a nation that cares those on the margins of society. Or a nation that celebrates freedom and equality. And they certainly don’t want it to be a nation of compassion and empathy.
Rather, the messages of the current administration make it painfully clear that greed, hubris, and power are their “American values.”
So when players take a knee today during the national anthem, and the gut reaction of so many is to call them a “son of a bitch,” I ask you, what do you stand for?
As for me, I stand for freedom. I stand for “justice, for all.” I stand for equality, for empathy, and for compassion.
I kneel to hubris and greed. Therefore, I take a knee for the flag that represents this administration. Not because I don’t love this country, but because I do.”
Malnati is currently the 632nd ranked golfer in the world, so it’s likely that these words won’t reach as many people as a statement from Rory McIlroy or Jordan Spieth would. However, a golfer speaking up on the issue is very interesting, considering that the sport that Donald Trump is most associated with is golf. Per his golf company’s website, Trump Golf has 19 listed courses as properties and also lists four golf resorts under the Trump Golf name. If statements like Malnati’s increase within the golf world, it will be very interesting to see what kind of response that gets out of Trump.