What’s the impact of a President using foul language?
SEATTLE — In the wake of President Donald Trump’s speech condemning NFL players who protested the national anthem, some people said they were surprised by the words the president used.
On Saturday, dozens of professional athletes spoke out, denouncing Trump’s comments at a rally in Alabama on Friday, when he said NFL players who refused to stand for “The Star-Spangled Banner” are exhibiting a “total disrespect of our heritage.”
Trump encouraged NFL owners to act, saying, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired.”
Matt McGarrity, a University of Washington Professor, who teaches public speaking said cursing is a stylistic device used to create an impact on a message and Trump isn’t the first president who has cursed to get their point across.
“People have always cursed, we’re not significantly different in that way,” McGarrity said. “How we curse, when it’s acceptable to curse, when we benefit by cursing – these have changed over time. Cursing does something for us now that is publicly acceptable that wouldn’t be acceptable 50 years ago.”
McGarrity said over time we’ve seen a shift in presidential language, as it’s become more common language.
He also said the way Trump cursed made a difference.
“In that moment, saying ‘wouldn’t it be great if NFL owners do this,’ in some ways is shielding him, consciously or not, from saying ‘I didn’t call them a son of a bitch,’ I said wouldn’t it be great if they did,” explained McGarrity.
The National Football League and its players’ union angrily denounced Trump’s statements.
“Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players,” the league commissioner, Roger Goodell, said in a statement.