Pro­fes­sional Ath­letes Take On Trump

MidWeek (Hawaii) - - Front Page - MOSTLY POL­I­TICS Dan Boy­lan

Let me make some­thing clear: I am not a Steph Curry fan. Af­ter all, he plays f or Golden State, and as a proud son of the Mid­dle West, I was a Chicago Bulls fan in the age of Michael Jor­dan, and a Cleve­land Cava­liers fan in the age of LeBron James.

I won money on LeBron over Steph in the 2016 NBA cham­pi­onship; I lost money on LeBron over Steph in the 2017 re­match. Steph plus Kevin Du­rant proved too much for the sec­ond- best bas­ket­ball player ever to play the game. (Michael Jor­dan, of the Bulls and shoes fame, was the best.)

Ev­ery year the White House in­vites NBA cham­pi­ons to visit the pres­i­dent. LeBron and his Cleve­land team­mates made the Washington trip in 2016 to meet Pres­i­dent Barack Obama. It was LeBron’s third White House visit in 2012 and 2013, he went as a mem­ber of Mi­ami Heat NBA cham­pi­onship teams.

J ames and com­pa­nies must have en­joyed t heir vis­its. Their host, a for­mer left-handed gun­ner for Pu­na­hou’s Buff and Blue, was a round-ball fa­natic. And more i mpor­tantly, Obama was the first African Amer­i­can to serve as pres­i­dent of the United States.

Black, like them. Each year since 1990, black men have made up nearly 80 per­cent of NBA ros­ters. Sim­ply put, African Amer­i­cans own the game of bas­ket­ball in the United States.

The s ame holds, to a some­what lesser de­gree, for the col­lege game. But only “some­what.” Watch a Divi­sion I col­lege bas­ket­ball game in any re­gion of the coun­try, and blacks will out­num­ber whites on the schools’ ros­ters. That’s been the case for at least a quar­ter-cen­tury.

The numbers for pro­fes- sional foot­ball come close to mir­ror­ing those for the NBA. Cur­rently African-Amer­i­can men make up 6 per­cent of the U.S. pop­u­la­tion, but 70 per­cent of the play­ers in the NFL. Of­fen­sive and de­fen­sive line­men? Over­whelm­ingly black men. Fleet run­ning backs, re­ceivers and de­fen­sive backs? Black men. Quar­ter­backs and kickers? No sur­prise, they’re white.

Don­ald Trump’s White House du­ti­fully in­vited the NBA cham­pion Golden State War­riors to visit. Hav­ing wit­nessed Trump’s sup­port of the birther move­ment and his equat­ing a demon­stra­tion by op­po­nents of racism with that of a group of white su­prem­a­cists, Steph Curry told a re­porter he would vote against the team’s ac­cept­ing the in­vi­ta­tion.

In a tele­vised in­ter­view, Curry ex­panded on his po­si­tion, “By ac­tu­ally not go­ing, hope­fully that will in­spire some change when it comes to what we tol­er­ate in this coun­try, what is ac­cepted, and what we turn a blind eye to­ward … We’re all try­ing to do what we can, us­ing our plat­forms, us­ing our op­por­tu­ni­ties to shed light … I don’t think us go­ing to the White House will mirac­u­lously make ev­ery­thing bet­ter, but this is my op­por­tu­nity to voice it.”

In a pique, via Twit­ter, Trump with­drew the White House’s i nvi­ta­tion t o t he War­riors.

But then he went to Alabama, where in a speech to an near-pure white au­di­ence, Trump ex­co­ri­ated Colin Kaeper­nick, the for­mer San Fran­cisco 49ers quar­ter­back who took a knee dur­ing the play­ing of the na­tional an­them to ex­press his un­hap­pi­ness with the treat­ment of African Amer­i­cans by U.S. po­lice de­part­ments.

Trump ques­tioned Kaeper­nick’s parent­age, then posited that NFL own re­fused to stand for the na­tional an­them.

Across the coun­try on Sun­day and Mon­day night, NFL teams took a knee, blacks and whites, even an owner, to show their con­tempt for a pres­i­dent who would play the race card to so­lid­ify his base.

Call it, ala Curry, “us­ing (their) plat­forms.”

LeBron James and Stephen Curry re­cently joined NFL teams in pub­licly de­nounc­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

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