Presidents Cup Captain Davis Love III On Anthem Protests: “Trump Is Right”

The Presidents Cup literally has “President” in the name, and it features a team that represents the United States. So, questions about recent protests during the National Anthem in other sports and President Trump’s related comments were always going to crop up.

Since the competition begins with the playing of said National Anthem, U.S. Captain Davis Love III got to answer a question about the elephant in the room during a sitdown with Golf Channel’s Cara Robinson.

Not surprisingly, given golf’s conservative nature and the game’s veneration of tradition, Davis Love III didn’t exactly call for his Presidents Cup team to take a knee during the Star Spangled Banner in solidarity with those protesting racial injustice in other sports.

“I think, in golf, you’ll see there’s a little bit more restraint,” Love told Golf Channel. “President Trump is right. There is a time to protest, but it really isn’t during the national anthem.”

Now, let’s just stop right here. With all due respect, when is the right time to protest, Mr. Love? And more disturbingly, Love later seems to conflate calling Congressmen, voting and writing letters with peaceful protest, which is certainly inaccurate.

It’s disturbing if the captain of a team representing the United States thinks the history of positive change in the country has more to do with letter writing than peaceful protest. Certainly, everyone from abolitionists to women’s’ suffragettes, to champions of civil rights would strongly disagree with him. It’s an orientation of almost comical out-of-touch privilege.

Moving on, Love also said this:

“I think you’ll see in golf that there’s a little bit more restraint,” Love said. “We adhere to our rulebook and to our core values and to our traditions, and I think that’s why our sport is so successful.”

So those who protest during the National Anthem in other sports are unrestrained and flouting their rulebooks?

“We ought to take a break during the prayer or during the national anthem to thank our country, to thank our forefathers who went before us. And then we can protest with our votes, with our letters to our congressmen or however we want.”

To be clear, then, Love isn’t in the “take a knee before the anthem but stand up during it camp.” His belief is that there is no place for protest during sporting events. Further, as previously mentioned, he seems to suggest there’s no place for peaceful protest in society. This, of course, is a denial of the basic freedom of assembly afforded all Americans and an undercutting of an important tradition in American democracy.

Let’s hope he’s lumping peaceful protest in with “however we want.” However, one has to think if Love respected that institution or recognized its power, he’d have mentioned it by name.

Golf writer Shane Ryan was having none of it:

Peter Malnati, winner of the 2016 Sanderson Farms Championship, remains the only player to offer public comment on the #TakeAKnee debate.

That said, reporters will be keen to pin players down in the press center during their Presidents Cup Monday and Tuesday interview before the competition, so more awkward deflections are certainly in store.