US President Donald Trump has been subject to sharp criticism from top athletes in America. The President made a number of disparaging remarks about American athletes over the weekend.
Basketball legend, LeBron James in a particularly heated exchange called the President a "bum".
In 2016, an American footballer called Colin Kaepernick began kneeling when the national anthem was played before games during the National Football League. At the time, he explained that it was his method of protesting racism in America. He said, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."
US President Donald Trump has been accused of being compliant to racism by critics in the past. He was subjected to criticism by business leaders and by fellow Republicans for failing to forcefully condemn racism in the wake the alt-right rally that took place in Charlottesville in August 2017. He has also been criticized for his executive orders calling for a travel ban on largely Muslim nations in January 2017.
During a recent rally with his supporters, Trump criticized players like Kaepernick who kneeled during the national anthem before games. He used a curse word while referring to such players and demanded they be fired by the owners of the team. He said, “If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU'RE FIRED. Find something else to do!”
Trump’s words angered players in the NFL (a league where over 50% of the players are African American) and team owners as well. An unprecedented number of players often backed by their teams' owners took action by kneeling during the national anthem before the games began. Team owners have also stated that they wouldn’t be firing their players for exercising their guaranteed freedom of speech.
Over the weekend, Trump continued to criticize athletes from different sports as well. Stephen Curry, who plays for the basketball team, Golden State Warriors, is considered one of the best players in his sport. He has publicly criticized Trump in the past. Trump, therefore, uninvited him and his team from visiting the White House (they are the current champions of their league). Trump wrote, “Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating; therefore invitation is withdrawn!”
In response, LeBron James, an athlete considered to be a legend in basketball, openly referred to Trump as a “bum.” He tweeted, “U bum @StephenCurry30 (Stephen Curry) already said he ain't going! So therefore, ain't no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!”
Other legends from the game like Magic Johnson have also stepped up their criticism against Trump.
The President has insisted that his remarks don’t have anything to do with race adding, “When you get on your knee and you don't respect the American flag or the anthem that is not being treated with respect... This has nothing to do with race or anything else. This has to do with respect for our country, and respect for our flag.”
Our assessment is that due to his latest comments the President has alienated himself from some of the most influential and popular athletes in the country and the world. Leaders from the business world, influential celebrities and now, athletes have begun distancing themselves from the leader who has become increasingly isolated.