Donald Trump has never shied away from commenting on patriotism, politics and American pastimes, and most often, he doesn’t even think twice before he tweets. His comments on sports have been widely recognized as inappropriate and dividing. He has targeted famous black players from the NFL who kneel during the anthem, and on Monday, he called out Stephen Curry, the two-time NBA champion with the Golden State Warriors who publicly stated that he won’t be entering the White House while Trump is president.
20 minutes after the issue was mentioned on “Fox & Friends”, Trump tweeted: “Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!” As soon as the tweet was posted, a slew of replies came. LeBron James immediately jumped to Curry’s defense:
Pretty harsh words. To be honest, Trump’s comments often don’t go in his favor, and are only fueling his haters. Just last week, ESPNs Jemele Hill called the president a “white supremacist”, while Jake Tapper from the CNN tweeted that the American president is “focusing like a laser on the major problems of the American people: black professional athletes with opinions.”
The anthem protests started when Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem last fall, and others followed suit while Trump was at a rally in Alabama. Trump’s opinion is that the league should ban these players, as they’re disrespecting our country. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired. You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it [but] they’ll be the most popular person in this country.”
Of course, Trump’s opponents jumped on the opportunity and accused him of failing to respect the First Amendment rights of Americans. He got back at them saying that this is the reason why the NFL ratings are down, and criticized the league for lack of safety. He also said that the kneeling in protest hurts the game, when “people like yourselves” watch the game on TV and see the athletes protest like that.
Mike Allen from Axios tweeted that addressing a large crowd with these words and athletes as “those people” is another issue that’s adding more fuel to the fire in light of the recent Charlottesville riots.
Surprisingly, Roger Goodell, the NFL’s commish, called the president’s remarks “divisive”. The players union had even harsher words. Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman tweeted the following:
What do you think about Trump’s comments? Are they really divisive or the players are making a big fuss out of nothing?