ESPN columnist Jemele Hill asserted Tuesday that the rumored meeting between President Trump and quarterback Colin Kaepernick as part of an upcoming race summit is “really about a photo op.”
Hill, speaking on Complex’s “Out of Bounds,” said the lack of experts on race relations invited to the reported summit made her wonder what the event would actually be about.
“That to me made it seem as if this is really about a photo op. This is really about an optic to be able to say ‘oh look’ – especially you know midterms are coming pretty soon – to be able to say ‘oh look I sat down with x,’” Hill said, adding that there could be a consequence for not showing up.
“… I think maybe the other part of it, too, is that if some of these musicians and athletes who have been critical of him, if they don’t show up, that will also be used as a chew toy for his base again to say, ‘See, I tried but this.’”
Hill also wrote an Op-Ed on ESPN’s The Undefeated saying that an invite from Trump to the former San Francisco 49ers star wouldn’t be genuine.
“There is something to say for Trump seeking greater understanding of complex racial issues, especially considering he has often come off as dismissive of the impact of racism on marginalized people and seemingly revels in encouraging intolerance,” she wrote.
“But we’re a long way from giving Trump a cookie, as it can’t be forgotten how much Trump seemed to take a special delight in helping to torpedo Kaepernick’s NFL career."
Hill also accused Trump of hijacking Kaepernick’s original message of trying to bring awareness about racial injustices in the U.S. and turning it into a debate over patriotism.
"But we’re a long way from giving Trump a cookie, as it can’t be forgotten how much Trump seemed to take a special delight in helping to torpedo Kaepernick’s NFL career."
“Trump hijacked Kaepernick’s original message – which was never about disrespecting the anthem, but rather holding this nation accountable for subjugating people of color to oppressive systems – and helped turn Kaepernick into public enemy number one,” Hill wrote.
The rumor of a sit-down between Trump and Kaepernick came last week when Pastor Darrell Scott told TMZ that the quarterback was invited to the White House for a meeting on race that would focus on Kanye West.
Scott said the White House reached out to Kaepernick about the meeting.
“He is 100 percent for it,” Scott said of Trump. “He’s very enthusiastic about it.”