You didn’t expect ProgressNow Colorado to sit it out, did you? The state’s leading liberal advocacy group fanned Donald Trump’s flame Sunday by speaking out for players who choose to take a knee during the national anthem in silent protest of police violence on minorities.
A lengthy statement neglected to mention Marshawn Lynch, the Raiders running back who showed for the game with the Broncos in Denver in a T-shirt that stated. “Everybody vs. Trump.” The Broncos’ players stood for the anthem Sunday, a week after dozens of Broncos knelt.
“We’re a team and we stand together,” the players said in a statement released Thursday.
ProgressNow’s lengthy statement cited “Trump’s irresponsible threats” and the free speech rights of the players.
“The outpouring of support from Coloradans for the NFL protests after Donald Trump derided players for exercising their right to free speech has been powerful and encouraging,” ProgressNow Colorado executive director Ian Silverii said in the statement. “Players are rightfully demonstrating so that this country will wake up and see the structural and systemic inequalities and brutality that people of color face every day in America. Trump threatening those players threatens the most fundamental rights we all cherish as Americans. It was Trump’s escalation that prompted dozens more NFL players, including a majority of the Denver Broncos, to take a knee during last week’s national anthem.
“Love of country means respecting the right of every American to disagree and to demonstrate. After last weekend, we asked our members to sign a thank you petition to the Broncos and send messages of support to the players. Nearly a thousand Coloradans responded. It is up to individual players to choose when and why to take a knee—but when they do, Coloradans have their back.”
The statement goes on to include those who signed ProgressNow Colorado’s online petition, providing first names and hometowns only (some free speech is more courageous than other free speech). Here’s what was included:
Caitlin in Boulder: “We stand with the Broncos! Black lives matter, and until the rest of the country begins to respect the humanity of all of its citizens, we are not equal and America is not indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Please keep protesting–we’re with you.”
Sarah in Denver: “Thank you for having the courage of your convictions and for taking this action to highlight brutality toward African Americans and other minorities.”
James in Peyton: “This is one old white man who supports all the Broncos who took a knee. I believe in your right to free speech and agree 100% that our President is a ninny and racist pig. Also told Phil Long Ford if they don’t want to work with Von or Brandon, then I will never buy a car from them again.”
Julianna in Elizabeth: “Peaceful, respectful protest is exercising our 1st amendment rights. Our troops fight for our rights. This country has moved forward towards a more perfect union by protesting for what is right. Against a king, against taxation, against slavery (we even fought a war). Against segregation, against Jim Crow. It’s how we bring attention to what is wrong in society. It’s how we become a better and more just society.”
Patricia in Denver: “I support the rights of our Bronco players to express their deep concern over the direction our country is taking. I thank you for your courage. The biggest threat to the flag and what this country should stand for is sitting in the White House.”
Melissa in Denver: “Thanks for using your respected voices to call for real and immediate action to acknowledge and redress the inequalities in American society. I’m not a football fan usually, but I am now definitely a Bronco fan.”
Natalie in Colorado Springs: “Thank you to all of our players, both those that chose to take a knee or continue to stand with hand over heart. It’s also about respecting people’s choices and their rights to make those choices and enact them!”
Brent in Colorado Springs: “Thanks from an old white guy who isn’t Donald Trump. Would that your courage and concern for our society could rub off on our president.”
Amanda in Pueblo: “My husband and I absolutely support the message and stance you took on September 24th and are proud to be Bronco fans because of it!”
Stefan in Vail: “Keep taking a knee until we can all stand united and equal.”
Thomas in Palisade: “I am solidly behind you. Our veterans did not fight for a ‘flag.’ They fought for our rights, including the First Amendment.”