In what has come to be one of the more surreal moments of the Trump administration, the U.S. president has drawn criticism “on many sides” for his latest digital barrage targeting a variety of American sports institutions and figures. Among them: the NFL, the NBA-championship winning Golden State Warriors and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
This specific tweet storm began on Friday night, where Trump rescinded his invitation to the White House to the Golden State Warriors because of star player Stephen Curry’s “hesitation” to commit to a visit:
The Warriors responded in kind with a rebuttal:
This exchange drew the ire of LeBron James, who used the opportunity to defend Steph Curry while calling Trump a “bum” and telling him that going to the White House “was a great honor until you showed up!”
And even Lakers legend Kobe Bryant weighed in:
James followed up with a video response, focusing on Trump’s divisive, lackadaisical response to the racially motivated events in Charlottesville, and how he simply isn’t having Trump turn sports into a similarly heated platform:
Things got progressively weirder as Trump then began to move onto NFL players like quarterback Colin Kaepernick who has taken to kneeling during the national anthem as a means of protesting and highlighting continued racial inequality. Trump went so far as to motion that the NFL should fire the “sons-of-bitches” who refused to stand for the national anthem, and then decried that the sport of football was declining in ratings and quality because it was getting too soft—as in, players are no longer hitting each other hard enough.
His remarks essentially set off a bunch of other people in the sports world—former supporters and longtime detractors alike. Bob Kraft, owner of the Super Bowl championship-winning New England Patriots and noted friend of Trump was said to have been “deeply disappointed” by his comments.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell responded with a statement of his own, focusing on the NFL’s efforts to help out in the aftermath of several notable natural disasters that have recently occurred:
And another pundit who threw his hat into the ring was Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and star of the business-oriented reality TV show Shark Tank:
But it looks like Trump’s commentary may have backfired. According to The Wall Street Journal, during Sunday’s NFL games, more players than ever took a knee. The Pittsburgh Steelers even stayed in their locker room during the national anthem. On Saturday, the practice even reached Major League Baseball, as Bruce Maxwell of the Oakland A’s became the first baseball player to take a knee:
And on Instagram, several artists have voiced their support of the protesting players. First was KAWS, who sketched his famous “Companion” figure taking a knee:
Followed by Todd James, aka REAS, who drew a warrior of his own to lend his support:
Pharrell even got in on the action during his performance for the University of Virginia’s “A Concert for Charlottesville: An Evening of Music and Unity” at the 11:34 mark:
We’ll continue to update this story as it progresses.
- Lead & Featured Image: Brett Carlsen / Getty Images