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Solomon Jones Interviews

Source: Sakeenah Benjamin / @sakeenahbenj

Solomon Jones- Donald Trump is again using patriotism as a prop, and this time the Eagles are unwitting co-stars in his political theater.

The trouble began when fewer than 10 members of the Eagles‘ Super Bowl-winning team opted visit the president at the White House. In a response worthy of a nine-year-old, Trump uninvited the team, and acted like it was about the national anthem, a 300-year-old song whose lyrics he doesn’t even know..

This is America in the age of Trump.

It’s a place divided along the lines of race and class, politics and preference, and now along the sacred lines of sport. Thanks to a president who desperately needed a distraction from the investigation of his campaign’s connections to Russia, children’s heroes have been cast as villains, and all of America is being dragged into a culture war.

For Trump, though, it makes sense. Attacking a league where 70 percent of the players are African American plays to his base. And if he has to lie and say that players who demonstrate against police brutality are really protesting the flag, so be it.  

But if you gotta do that, do us all a favor, and leave our Eagles out of it, because too many people from all over this region have suffered with this team.

We’ve watched coaches like Dick Vermeil and Andy Reid let championships slip through their hands. We’ve watched prodigies like Chip Kelly self-destruct and take our best players with them. We’ve watched with anxious pride as our team revitalized men like Michael Vick.

And through it all we bonded around the heartbreak. It built in us a toughness that can only come from loss. And even as the country divided around us, we came together to tailgate as Nick Foles drove us to the Super Bowl. Hundreds joined me at City Hall and prayed for our team to win. We laughed when Kelce cussed out the naysayers. We cried when fans took loved ones’ ashes to the parade.

That’s why attacking the Eagles is just like attacking all of us. Because football is more than political theater. For us, it is a metaphor for life.

So while our president attacks black men for standing against injustice, I’ll be praying that Philadelphians will stand together. This team, after all, belongs to each and every one of us, and no matter what the president says to try to to create division, this country belongs to all of us, as well.


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