NFL players who are participating in the national anthem demonstrations over racial inequality are “ungrateful, anti-American degenerates,” the director of the Michigan State Police said on social media.
On Sunday, when teams stood in solidarity against divisive comments by President Trump, Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue posted on Facebook that the demonstrators were “millionaire ingrates who hate America and disrespect our Armed Forces and Veterans” and that they were “a bunch of rich, entitled, arrogant, ungrateful, anti-American degenerates.”
Etue didn’t respond to requests for an interview.
The Facebook post came less than a month after a state police trooper tasered 15-year-old Damon Grimes on an ATV in Detroit, causing him to fatally crash. Detroit police are investigating the death.
NFL players have repeatedly said they are not kneeling during the national anthem because they don’t respect veterans. They said they are protesting a symbol of America, where black people are disproportionately victimized by police brutality, economic inequality and a lack of access to good schools.
Activist group Progress Michigan released the following statement:
“When such a high-ranking member of law enforcement feels compelled to share such broad, inaccurate, and shameful comments, their judgment can no longer be trusted to help protect Michigan’s diverse communities. Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue needs to step aside,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of Progress Michigan. “Let’s set something straight: these protests are not about the flag or about veterans or the military, they are about speaking out against police brutality and injustice in communities of color across America. That is something that law enforcement should take to heart, not use to try to divide us further. Also, it’s important to note that it’s not just professional athletes taking a knee in solidarity — it’s high school kids, college students, cheerleaders, veterans, and people from all walks of life who are willing to bravely speak out against injustice in our society.”
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Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.