Anyone who’s been following the sports pages lately would gather that it may be safer for fans to wear one of Kevin Durant’s Golden State Warriors jerseys to an Oklahoma Thunder game than to be seen wearing a red #MAGA cap.Sports media — the athletes, the sports commentators and journalists, even sports media companies like ESPN — have been relentless in their attacks upon President Trump.
Perhaps the most shocking aspect of these attacks is how shocked many of these are that these attacks would either be ignored or quietly endured by the president.
Just recently the Trump White House suggested that ESPN commentator Jemele Hill be fired for tweeting that the president and the people who surround him are “white supremacists.”
And, just yesterday, Trump further provoked the sports world by recommending that NFL players kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem also be fired.
Now, in perhaps his sharpest jab at the sports world, Trump has rescinded a White House invitation to one of its most popular athletes.
Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team.Stephen Curry is hesitating,therefore invitation is withdrawn!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
Although only Steph Curry is mentioned in the tweet, in all likelihood Trump has, in effect, rescinded the invitation for the entire team — given how unlikely it is that the team would attend a White House ceremony without its star player, especially since so many on the team — and coaching staff — share his view on President Trump.
As reported by USA Today:Curry wasn’t the only one who had said as much previously, as Warriors coach Steve Kerr, Finals MVP Kevin Durant and others had expressed the same belief. But Curry, the two-time MVP whose voice carries more weight than any other inside the Warriors organization, was forceful in his stance at Warriors media day on Friday.
The Warriors and White House officials had engaged in “discussions” about a possible White House visit, according to general manager Bob Myers, with the team planning on meeting in the coming days to discuss the matter.
Even Steph Curry’s biggest rival in the NBA has taken to Twitter to support him (and attack the president):
U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain't going! So therefore ain't no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!
— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 23, 2017
CNN is reporting on the escalating tensions, by sharing the following outcry on Twitter by other pro athletes:
With everything that's going on in our country, why are YOU focused on who's kneeling and visiting the White House??? #StayInYoLane
— Chris Paul (@CP3) September 23, 2017
A #POTUS whose name alone creates division and anger. Whose words inspire dissension and hatred can't possibly "Make America Great Again"
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) September 23, 2017
The behavior of the President is unacceptable and needs to be addressed. If you do not Condemn this divisive Rhetoric you are Condoning it!!
— Richard Sherman (@RSherman_25) September 23, 2017
Continue to use your voices and your platforms for racial equality and to stop injustices in our communities. This is bigger than us!!! ✊🏿
— Michael Thomas (@Michael31Thomas) September 23, 2017
— Benjamin Watson (@BenjaminSWatson) September 23, 2017
Of course, President Trump cannot hope to match the popularity enjoyed by his predecessor among the primarily African-American athletes in the NBA and NFL.
Even in retirement President Obama continues to enjoy the, sometimes nauseating, adulation of these athletes:
— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 4, 2017
But, as athletes, they should understand that the electoral championship — and a new champ in President Trump — have been named.
And, if they cannot understand this, and no longer consider it an honor to even visit the White House, then Trump is right: they should stay at home.