President Donald J. Trump says he understands there is a valid reason NFL players were protesting and he wants to be part of the solution.

During a press briefing ahead of his G7 meeting, Trump said he knows many NFL players have “seen a lot of abuse, they’ve seen a lot of unfairness”. He then asked players to make known people they feel were rail roaded by the system.

“I’m going to ask all of those people to recommend to me — because that’s what they’re protesting — people that they think were unfairly treated by the justice system. And I understand that. I’m going to ask them to recommend to me people that were unfairly treated and I’m gonna take a look at those applications and if I find and my committee finds that they’ve been unfairly treated than we’ll pardon them. Or at least let them out.”

I know many partisan factions will find fault with Trump’s effort, but I tell you, I have never seen a President be so bold and straight forward. Sure Trump has his own issues, we all do. In fact, I felt his injection into the NFL debate during the past season made matters worse. However, his maverick approach to pardons should give a lot of unfairly sentenced people hope.

This announcement comes on the heels of Trump pardoning Alice Marie Johnson, a black woman and 63-year-old great-grandmother who was given a life sentence in prison for a nonviolent drug-related crime and was not eligible for parole. Her case was brought to Trump by reality TV personality Kim Kardashian-West. White House counsel Don McGahn and chief of staff John Kelly, were less enthusiastic, according to a senior administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity, however Trump was not swayed by his advisers opposition and granted the pardon.

Previous Presidents would wait until the last days or day of their term in order to avoid political backlash or have issues during re-election. Trump obviously is not a traditional President and takes a more “cut to the chase” business approach to political issues.
I don’t know how this will turn out. Political advisors and party insiders may get to Trump and alter his natural inclination, however it should be said the fact that a sitting President would be open to the idea of evaluating cases with the aim of correcting racial and systemic injustices is a step in the right direction.

Franklin A. Fudail


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