On Tuesday, Donald Trump called NBA players “very nasty” and “very dumb” for taking a knee during the national anthem during a radio interview.
When the NBA kicked off its season in Orlando, Florida, all but two players took a knee during the national anthem. Players have also started wearing Black Lives Matter jerseys.
“The kneeling (during the national anthem) has been horrible for basketball,” Trump stated on Fox Sports’ “Outkick the Coverage.”
“They’ve had horrible ratings, low numbers. People are angry about it. They have enough politics with guys like me. There was a nastiness about the NBA the way (protesting) was done. The NBA is in trouble, bigger trouble than they understand.”
Trump is wrong about viewership according to Sports Media Watch ratings were up 14% above average after the first weekend.
Radio host Clay Travis asked Trump if he was aware some NBA players had criticized him for his thoughts on their protests.
“No, I haven’t noticed them sending (criticism) back to me. I wouldn’t be surprised. There are some very, very, very nasty, frankly very dumb (players). I haven’t noticed that” Trump responded.
Trump’s feud with NBA players goes all the way back to the beginning of his presidency. It started when he uninvited the then-NBA champion Golden State Warriors from visiting the White House in 2017. At that time LeBron James called Trump a “bum.”
James reacted to Trump’s latest statements as well calling Trump’s comments “disgraceful.”
“I really don’t think the basketball community is sad about losing Trump’s viewership.”
James has also been outspoken about the Black Lives Matter movement and has used his platform to express his political and social views.
As the interview was wrapping up Travis asked Trump whom he would pick between James and Michael Jordan, as the greatest basketball player of all time.
“Michael Jordan,” Trump answered. “I’ve seen them both. Michael is, plus he wasn’t political, so people like him better.”