NFL legend Jim Brown: 'First of all, I'm an American'
Entertainer Kanye West drew widespread criticism from the left for his literal embrace of President Trump in the Oval Office on Thursday, but reporters also wanted NFL legend and civil-rights leader Jim Brown to explain why he showed up.
Brown told reporters outside the White House after the lunch Thursday he met with the president to "talk about how to help our young people in our country" address the problem of violence and get the education and "life skills" necessary to succeed.
Jim Brown speaks to media outside White House: "I don't think that we should take knees in protest instead of be standing up for our flag." pic.twitter.com/sZDTsfyinp— CSPAN (@cspan) October 11, 2018
The Hall of Famer, 82, said it's a cause he's been promoting for 30 years, and his meeting with Trump "was very positive."
The White House said the topics were manufacturing, prison reform, preventing gang violence and reducing violence in Chicago.
Asked what recommendations he gave to Trump regarding the black community, Brown said he simply wants to help.
"It's not controversial, I'm sorry," he said with a laugh.
"I'm a black man, of course, but my life has not always been around black people. I have wonderful white people who helped me as a child, helped me as an adult, made up for the fact that I did not have a father."
A reporter asked Brown how "members of the football community" have reacted to his support for Trump.
"I don't know," he said, pausing. "I don't really care, because this is the president of the United States.
"He allowed me to be invited to his territory. He treated us beautifully. And he shared some thoughts."
Brown said Trump has invited him to continue the conversation, and "that's the best he could do for me.
The former Cleveland Browns running back was asked again about how he views NFL players "taking a knee" during the national anthem in protest of alleged systematic racial discrimination by police officers across the nation.
"I can be very blunt about taking a knee," he said.
"You see, first of all, I'm an American. That flag is my flag. Things that I've overcome in this country have made me a better person," said Brown.
"I don't think we should take knees in protest instead of standing up for our flag.
"I think we should work out our problems as a family. And that's what I would advocate to my children, to all the young people I deal with. I am an American. That flag is my flag. And I want to represent it that way."
In August, Brown said the black community shouldn't blame the president for its problems, insisting it "has a responsibility" to examine its own performance.
"We should look at ourselves first before we look at the president," said Brown in an interview with the Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends."
"The black community ... has a responsibility regardless of what the president does," said Brown. "And if you have a homicide rate within your black community, then it's not the president that's created a homicide rate, it's the black community itself that needs to address it."
Brown described Trump as an "exceptional" president who is wrongly accused of being racist. And he commended "white people" who have sacrificially advocated for black Americans.
"The advancement of black people in this country is based upon white people who risked their lives just to do the right thing to make the playing field equal and balanced," he said.Black Community, Donald Trump, Media, National Anthem, White House, Jim Brown, I am an American