Trump (Falsely) Claims He’s Why Colin Kaepernick Is Out Of The NFL

Another day, another presidential lie

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Mar 21, 2017 at 12:56 PM ET

During a rally in Louisville, KY on Tuesday night, Donald Trump veered off his teleprompter script to talk about Colin Kaepernick. Well, not so much Kaepernick as an article he read about Kaepernick and even then he wasn’t able to properly describe what was reported.

For some reason, he pivoted from a series of disconnected thoughts about education and health care—perhaps because the hamster spinning the wheel in his skull tripped—to weigh in on Kaepernick’s lack of an NFL job

And you know, your San Francisco quarterback, I’m sure nobody ever heard of him. I’m just reporting the news.

This is patently false. He’s one of the most well-known professional football players in the world because of his activism. But go on…

There was an article today. I love to report the news and then they said I made a mistake. I said, “No, the people reporting the news made the mistake if it’s wrong.” But, there was an article today that was reported that NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump. You believe that?

I just saw that. I just saw that! I said, “If I remember that one, I’m gonna report it to the people of Kentucky because they like it when people actually stand for the American flag.” Right?”

Trump never specified exactly what “news” he was referring to, but on Friday, Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman quoted a single general manager, speaking anonymously, who said that 10 percent of NFL teams wouldn’t touch Kaepernick because they fear that fans would cause an uproar or putting him under center would elicit a tweet from the president. So, that’s three teams total, assuming one GM’s back-of-the-napkin math is correct, and not the entirety of the NFL as Trump “reported.”

The unnamed GM also said 20 percent of the remaining teams think he can’t play and the rest still harbor some serious resentment over his anthem protests, which falls in line with Freeman’s earlier reporting.

This is your reminder that the president, armed with the greatest information-gathering apparatus the world has ever known, still needs to be fed stories written online to make him feel better. And because he’s incapable of using a computer, aides are charged with scouring the interwebz and printing flattering content out for him to read, or at least scan the headline of, if only to keep his idle hands from logging into Twitter.

As to whether Kaepernick is actually being blackballed, Spike Lee, who is not a noted football commenter, thinks the answer is yes. If you want to point to circumstantial evidence, the New York Jets desperately need a starting QB and yet they recently signed 37-year-old Josh McCown, he of the 2-20 record as a starter over the last three years, without ever going so far as to bring in Kaepernick for a friendly chat.

Anyway, this is not the first time Trump contributed to the ongoing Kaepernick discourse. In August 2016, just as Kaepernick began his protests, Trump went on “The Dori Monson Show,” and told Kaepernick to either love America or leave it.

“I think it’s personally not a good thing. I think it’s a terrible thing, and you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him, let him try, it’s not gonna happen,” he said. Two months later, he partially blamed Kaepernick for the decline in NFL TV ratings. (TV ratings have declined for all live sports)

Meanwhile, Kaepernick has been raising money to help the victims of the deadly drought in Somalia, which has caused mass famine and starvation.

As of this writing, the GoFundMe campaign Kaepernick has been promoting has raised close to $2 million. Donald Trump’s proposed budget would gut funding to the United Nations and the State Department, which tend to help out in international crises like these. The second iteration of his travel ban, should it survive legal scrutiny, would bar Somali refugees from entering the U.S. for 60 days.