Professional Athletes Take On Trump
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.