Speed Reads

Late Night Tackles Trump and the NFL

Trevor Noah explores when exactly it's okay for black people to protest in Trump's America

If President Trump's speeches weren't like gas station bathrooms — "you can only really complain about one thing at a time" — people might be asking "what kind of a human being wants more brain damage?" Trevor Noah said on Monday's Daily Show. But of course, Trump's comments about the NFL not allowing hard enough hits were overshadowed by his broadside against NFL players who protest racism by kneeling during the nation anthem.

Noah compared Trump's "sons of bitches" comment with his "nice people" line from last month's neo-Nazi march, and said the weird thing is that until Friday, taking the knee — which started under Obama — had nothing to do with Trump. It does now, he said, and now the NFL is kneeling against Trump and racism, but not the flag. "If they wanted to disrespect the country," he noted pointedly, "they wouldn't kneel silently, they would do crazy things like insult Gold Star families, or make fun of POWs like John McCain, or say that America is morally equivalent to Putin's Russia."

If Trump doesn't think black athletes should kneel during the anthem, when is it the right time for black people to protest in Trump's America? Noah asked. He ran through some comments from Trump, his press secretary, his treasury secretary, and his supporters, finding the most pernicious argument to be that wealthy black players kneeling quietly are being ungrateful. After all, "when a white billionaire spends a year screaming that America is a disaster, he's in touch with the country," Noah said. He ended with an homage to Dr. Seuss: "You still haven't told us the right way for black people to protest. I mean, we know it's wrong to do it in the streets, it's wrong to do it in the tweets, you cannot do it on the field, you cannot do it if you've kneeled. And don't do it if you're rich, you ungrateful son of a bitch, because there's one thing that's a fact: You cannot protest if you're black." Watch below. Peter Weber