Former Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning may be retired, but he is still in the headlines. Manning will be hosting the 2017 ESPY Awards, and has been in the news for playing golf with President Donald Trump.
Manning went on Jimmy Kimmel Live Monday night and provided further insight into his day with Trump. He said that Trump knew Manning was in town and through an intermediary was asked if he’d like to play golf with the president, Manning obliged.
He used a supposed Arnold Palmer quote, one which I cannot find a record of ever being said. “I heard Arnold Palmer say one time if the President of the United States ever asks you to play golf, you do it.” Manning used the Palmer quote as a backdrop for explaining why he accepted the invitation to the many people who told him he shouldn’t play with Trump.
Manning called Trump a gracious host, and the two were on the same team for the 4.5 hour outing, ultimately winning the match. Manning also shot down claims of Trump being a cheater, but did say he misses a lot of putts and expects that to be reciprocated. So although Manning did not visibly see him cheat, a certain power play is there that makes Trumps opponents miss a shot here and there to keep their boss happy.
“I think it would have been almost un-American to have said no.” Manning said.
While he has the right to this opinion, it is one that doesn’t use what America was founded upon. This country was founded on freedom of speech, the pursuit of happiness, and if we as citizens disagree with those who hold high office, we are allowed to voice our displeasure in various forms, one of which could be declining a request from our commander in chief.
I would counter Manning’s claim by saying that maybe his mindset is blindly and unknowingly un-American. To do what someone asks because they hold a certain power sounds like bowing to a king. If Manning did say no, that would have been very much American, it would have shown that he can do as he pleases without the threat of a negative consequence.
There is nothing wrong with Mr. Manning playing golf with President Trump. Most people will never be in a position to say yay or nay to such an invitation. Further, his intent wasn’t to be overly political, it was to simply play golf. However, the reasoning as to why he accepted the invite is a bit questionable. In Manning’s defense he said he’d play with President Clinton and Obama if they ever invited him to do so. But the fact remains there would have been nothing un-American about Manning telling Trump “No.”