Andrew Gillum: Unity, the NFL and Memorial Day

Andrew Gillum

In a new post published on Medium, Democratic gubernatorial candidate and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum called for Floridians to embrace unity as they celebrate Memorial Day this weekend.

“This Memorial Day Weekend, I’ll join with millions of Americans to stand in unity honoring the brave men and women who have lost their lives defending this country,” he wrote. “In Tallahassee, we’re proud of our work to make the city more veteran-friendly, from hiring initiatives to becoming one of the first Purple Heart cities in America.

“They made the ultimate sacrifice defending our country and the Constitution, including the First Amendment.”

Gillum then turned his focus toward Donald Trump, calling out a recent statement by the President where he said professional football players who kneel during the national anthem “shouldn’t be in the country.” His statement came after the National Football League announced its new national anthem policy.

Gillum said the Trump’s statement was just the latest in a long line of divisive attacks, recalling his campaign announcement speech nearly three years ago, and derogatory remarks he directed toward Haiti and Afirican countries earlier this year.

“The President has done everything in his considerable power to divide us from one another, and this year, on the eve of Memorial Day, he’s gone even further by suggesting we deport NFL players. Where exactly would he deport them to?” Gillum asked.

Gillum said, based on his remarks on NFL players, he could “scarcely imagine what the Oval Office’s current occupant would have said about Dr. King, Fannie Lou Hamer, or Rosa Parks.”

“This Memorial Day, I’m going to put my hand over my heart and acknowledge our flag. This fall, I know there are going to be NFL players who choose to take a knee. We all have the right to express ourselves, and it’s one of the most important rights we have in our great country,” Gillum wrote. “The idea that an American President would threaten to deport an American citizen for their political beliefs is an anathema to who we are as a country. All of us, regardless of race or party, are better than that.”

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


One comment

  • Seber Newsome III

    May 25, 2018 at 6:04 pm

    You are wrong! The NFL is dividing the country, by their stance against the National Anthem. The big shots in the NFL know this, by the low attendance at games and ratings. As far as Memorial Day, do you know how it started, probably not. In 1868, General Hogan declared a Decoration Day to honor the Confederate and Union soldiers who died in the Civil War. It has since progressed to cover all the wars.

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