Donald Trump has reportedly signed off on launching of series of meetings with prominent athletes and musicians to discuss race, and Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback who Trump vilified while running for president, is among those on the invite list, as well as rapper Kanye West.
Kaepernick famously started taking a knee during the national anthem before NFL games in 2016 to protest injustice against African-Americans, particularly high-profile police shootings of unarmed black men. Other NFL players followed suit, starting a wave of protests from professional and amateur athletes. The protests became a flash point in the NFL last season, angering some fans and splitting owners, coaches and players on how to best address social activism, all while Kaepernick wasn't even on an NFL roster. The former 49ers starter, who was released after the 2016 season, is currently pursuing a grievance against the NFL's owners for collusion to keep him from being signed.
Trumphe was elected, saying that the NFL should have suspended Kaepernick for his protest. Trump also said on Twitter that ," which in turn led to more protests during the 2017 season.
Respecting the anthem is a According to Scott, via PEOPLE Magazine: "We don't want to sanitize it. I want people from the left to attend. I want it to get heated but I want it to be respectful. I want them to see and know the Donald Trump I know and they will say, 'This guy isn't who I've been lead to believe he is.'". The summit is reportedly being organized by pastor Darrell Scott and former New York City mayor and current unofficial White House adviser Rudy Giuliani.
West has recently made waves by posting a series of pro-Trump tweets which, according to PEOPLE, bolstered the interest in organizing the event. Jim Brown, Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson and Herschel Walker will also be invited and be "on the president's side," according to Scott. He also said that the summit, true to form of other summits like it in the past, will be "unscripted, unfiltered, blunt," via Politico, adding "No topic is off the table."
One thing to note: Scott "expects" Trump to be in attendance, but that is not yet official. According to Scott, Trump is "very enthusiastic about it," per PEOPLE. In Scott's eyes, the summit will be a place for healing. "The president said that this will go a long way in bringing everybody together," he said. "He wants to bring this nation together."
With the summit still in early talks, there's little information in the way of when it would occur. Indications are that it could be sometime in the summer, between the end of the NBA and the start of the NFL seasons. Scott is hoping to smooth out the rest of the details next week.