Cameron Jordan, two-time Pro Bowl defensive end for the New Orleans Saints, has not been one of the NFL players to protest police brutality and racial inequality by taking a knee or raising a fist during the national anthem. However, after Donald Trump’s remarks at an Alabama rally on Friday night, labeling any NFL player who protests a “son of a bitch” and saying that they should be fired, many athletes, including Jordan, took to Twitter. On Saturday afternoon, Jordan wrote: “[This] Only validates @Kaepernick7 bringing social injustice to light, he kneeled hoping it'd bring attention to what he believed in... Has it not?” Sports Illustrated’s Ben Baskin reached out to Jordan, who then shared his thoughts in more detail, via text message. His response is transcribed below, edited slightly for clarity.
Honestly, I’m not trying to take anything away from my foremost thought of playing Carolina tomorrow. I woke up and read some of [Trump’s comments], feeling some type of way and those feelings haven't subsided. I've let those who are politically correct and heavily opinionated exercise their rights, including, clearly, the current POTUS.
If anything, it is only a divisive statement that is opposing our freedom of speech and expression to protest any subject peacefully. But what do I know? I sing the national anthem every time I've taken the field from 13 years old to now 28, hand over my heart or holding my helmet. Before taking the field I kiss the American flag on my helmet, tap my head on my helmet and live my football dream. I'm all for focusing on playing football and that being my full focus on Sunday.
But I'm not blind, daft or dumb. I can't comment about how I’m correct or what should or should not be happening. That is my own opinion, something that I can voice through my own platforms when I want to. The fact of the matter is he is the President of the United States of America. His personal opinion should align with that of the people. And should not impose upon our First Amendment rights. He chose to run for office. He chose the, or what used to be considered, by me, most respected political position in the country. So I'm irritated by the personal attack about how a player should be fired by an NFL owner over his personal opinion/belief to take a knee, which in turn is clearly creating a rift in our nation.
I want to focus on football on the Panthers, on containing the quarterback, tackling [Jonathan] Stewart and [Christian] Macafaree* (*I refuse to spell his name right, he's a Stanfurd kid). But I wonder why athletes who have opinions and have donated to initiatives in the community in which they play or are from are being attacked. Since he's president, I want him to act politically responsible and ACT diplomatic. To act so that those who VOTED for him can be proud of his work. Clearly I'm one of those that voted [against him.]