During an MSNBC panel discussion on President Donald Trump’s controversial comments about NFL players, host Nicolle Wallace touched on a presidential statement that got lost in the kneeling debate — wanting to see NFL players hit each other harder.
“The sports fans in my life say the bigger news from Donald Trump is that he had the audacity to say the game was better when the hits were harder,” Wallace suggested.
“I’m not surprised by the rhetoric this man says,” replied former NFL player Willie Colon. “I’m not expecting him to be sensitive. From day one he has been this dismissive, disrespectful. So anything comes out of his mouth, I’m not going to sit here and be shocked by it. I have conversations with people who do suffer from CTE, whose wives and families are effected by it. This is real, this isn’t going away.”
Asked to weigh in after Wallace shared clips of Trump boasting of hard hits he enjoyed etching NFL games, ESPN analyst Kevin Blackistone said there is a racial element to Trump’s praise of football violence.
“This is how Donald Trump has just racialized this entire weekend,” Blackistone began. “Listening to Willie talk about this, the majority of this league’s players, as we know, the NFL, are black males. The majority of the injuries, the concussions are black males. You look at stacking by position and those positions that suffer the greatest from CTE, they’re the positions that black males are more often likely to play.”
“So for him to dismiss that and to dismiss CTE as something that does not exit shows a callousness toward the athletes and particularly the not having to say explicitly anything about black players, but it came across loud and clear,” he continued. “When you put that with his background, it paints a really ugly picture in terms of the way this president happens to see black America and the black males that play these sports in particular.”
Watch the video below via MSNBC: