As CREDO fights for civil rights, AT&T stands with Trump’s bigotry

Recently, in response to Donald Trump’s vile and racist comments about professional athletes, hundreds of National Football League (NFL) players kneeled and linked arms during the national anthem in a tremendous show of unity with their fellow players who are protesting inequality and police violence against people of color. We at CREDO roundly praised these players’ continued demonstrations for civil rights.

When we found out that AT&T, the parent company of DirecTV, was reportedly offering refunds of its NFL Sunday Ticket package to right-wing customers who were offended by black and brown football players protesting inequality and exercising their first amendment rights, we were disgusted.

But we weren’t surprised.

AT&T has a long history of funding Donald Trump’s dangerous agenda. AT&T was among one of the largest contributors to Trump’s inaugural committee slush fund, donating more than $2 million in cash and more than $80,000 in equipment and software.

The company has spent millions to lobby the Trump administration and Washington lawmakers and has donated heavily to Republicans to win favor for a dangerous mega-merger with Time Warner. More than 200,000 CREDO members have signed petitions to staunchly oppose this merger.

Now, AT&T is aligning itself with the racists and bigots fueling Trump’s hate by offering refunds to customers who presumably agree with Trump’s statements that any black NFL player who protests inequality during the anthem is a “son of a bitch” who should be fired.

Normally, NFL Sunday Ticket customers are not allowed to get their money back after canceling, yet AT&T is going out of its way, in a craven political business decision, to placate the most deplorable of its customer base. In fact, the only time we can recall AT&T offering customers a refund was when the Federal Trade Commission forced the company to rebate customers $88 million in illegal charges.

For more than 30 years, CREDO has been fighting for civil rights – through our activism, our progressive values, our business model and the causes we fund. Last year, we spoke up early in support of Colin Kaepernick, the first NFL player to sit out the national anthem to protest police violence, and urged our members to join us in a show of solidarity in the face of an ugly public backlash. And we’ve called on the NFL Players Association to speak out against NFL team owners who continue to blackball Colin Kaepernick because they disagree with his public and patriotic display of resistance.

So when we say we’re “the carrier with a conscience,” we’re not just paying lip service with a tag line, we actually walk the walk — and in this case, we #TakeAKnee.