Lovie Smith Quite Critical of Donald Trump’s NFL Trolling

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When you say “events over the weekend” in the sports world, people almost certainly know what you’re talking about. If you phrase that phrase and tack on “in football,” then they definitely know exactly you’re talking about

Illini football Head Coach Lovie Smith met the media yesterday for his weekly news conference, and he was not shy about expressing his opinions on President Donald Trump waging verbal war against the NFL, and the National Football League responding.

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Just in case we have anyone here who doesn’t know the situation being referred to, let’s run through it again. On Friday night in Alabama, Trump called former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and any current NFL player who engages in National Anthem protests “sons a bitches,” and emphatically called upon NFL Owners to fire the aforementioned players.

Just to be absolutely clear, the POTUS called mothers of NFL players “bitches.”

It’s cliche, but it’s true- sports are as big a unifying entity as we have in America.

Trump is trying to make it divisive, perhaps only to alleviate his own boredom, perhaps because he’s still bitter about the National Football League prohibiting from owning a team in the 1980s.

What resulted was a backlash from the sporting world in general.

Chicago Bears Team Captain Akiem Hicks spoke out. Lebron James did not hold back. Gregg Popovich addressed the real elephants in the room once again. Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys expressed their sentiments strongly. Boomer Esiason, Nate Burleson and James Brown eviscerated Trump.

Pete Carroll, Mark Cuban and Charles Barkley articulated what the way forward from this mess could or should be.

The NFL in general was extremely assertive in conveying its message to Trump. Players and owners were with each other locked arm in arm. Smith worked as an assistant or head coach in the NFL from 1996-2015, with three different teams.

Naturally, the weekend events hit home for him.

Lovie Smith spent a substantial amount of time discussing all the complex sociopolitical topics that are being debated right now in this country.

“I have a lot of thoughts of where we are at right now,” Smith said.

“I think there are players taking a stand against what they feel is right in our country and things that have been said about our private citizens. Is our president a role model, I am asking you. I think we would all say yes. I think there are certain things you would expect him to say and certain things you don’t expect him to do. What is happening right now has brought a lot of people together.”

Smith then pointed out how the office of the Presidency requires a certain level of manners, professionalism and decorum. He articulated that these standards are not being met.

“The way to voice your opinion on what you think is right and wrong is through the vote. I voted for a certain person because of I believe in what they stood for. The presidency of our United States requires a certain level of respect and manner of which you assume that position and the way you should behave. That is not the case right now.”

“For this many people to feel like they need to take a stand against it, something is wrong. For me, my opinions have not changed an awful lot.”

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“We coach and I coach college students and teach them to state their opinions. If you see something you don’t like, be educated in what you say and voice your opinion at all times. Constitutionally, we have the right to do that.”

Lovie Smith also said that he encourages his students to be socially aware and fosters an environment of political awareness.

“For us, we always talk about current events,” the former Chicago Bears Head Coach said,

“To me, on what is happening right now, that changes our program and what we do. What I have told our players, again I will go back to the election, I want them to be involved in everything that happens in their communities and country, period. Be educated about the event, have the information and make your voice heard. That is what we tell all of our students.”

“They have an opinion. Use it at all times.”

“I don’t think I have to change what I tell our team right now. If they have an opinion, speak for yourself at any time. They don’t have to do that during a game. Students can do that at any time. Our athletes can give you their opinion at any time, that is what I always tell our football team.”

“Some of us are role models,” he added when addressing the topic of role models.

“Do we consider our athletes role models? Yes. Do you expect them to behave a certain way? Yes.”

He then slammed the President for his name-calling.

“With any leader, you say yes. We should all be judged by that standard. Are you holding our leaders to that? Is it okay for someone to call another American those names? Is it okay? If it is, make your opinion known. To me, it is not.”

Finally, Lovie Smith on the Illini football team remaining in the locker room for the national anthem (just like they always do) Friday night against Nebraska (game preview and prediction here):

“We don’t come out before the national anthem and we are not going to change what we do. We have the same opinion. What is happening right now does not dictate how we do things. We don’t come out before the national anthem and we are not going to now. Our guys all have opinions on what is going on.”

“This is how we have been doing it all along. Should we change it up now? No. This is how we do it.”

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“If you want to know our opinion, we will give you our opinion. We think what is happening right now is wrong, like everybody else. Declare your opinion and then go that way.”

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now and Minute Media. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and Chicago Now.

Follow him on TwitterInstagramSound Cloud, LinkedIn and YouTube

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