President Donald Trump did not, could not, miss an opportunity to criticise people standing up to police brutality when he was asked about the NBA protests against “another shooting of a Black man by police.”
During a briefing on Thursday, a reporter asked Trump his reaction to the NBA strike after the police shooting of Jacob Blake, and the president thought making fun of their ratings would be the best thing to do.
“I don’t know much about the NBA protests,” Trump said.
“I know their ratings are very bad because I think people are a little tired of the NBA, frankly. But I don’t know too much about the protests, but I know their ratings have been very bad and that’s unfortunate.”
He continued: “They have become like a political organisation. And that’s not a good thing. I don’t think that’s a good thing for sports or for the country.”
According to Sports Illustrated, channel ABC’s first playoff game of this season fell 23 per cent in ratings and 21 per cent in viewership compared to last year.
Trump’s remarks came on the same day his son-in-law-turned-advisor Jared Kushner said he hoped to speak with Lakers’ star LeBron James about the protests.
“I think that it’s nice that they’re standing up for the issue, but I’d like to see them start moving into concrete solutions that are productive,” Kushner said, sparking fury.
Trump has a long history of hating on sports teams and players that show solidarity with anti-racism and protest police violence, and his administration has made it their mission to declare that sports are in no way 'political'.
Donald Trump is certainly not generally on the best of terms with NBA players and teams. In 2018, the Golden State Warriors declined their post-championship visit to the White House which the president was not thrilled over.
Trump’s poor relationship with sports leagues doesn’t end there, as we all remember he was fervently against Colin Kaepernick and his kneeling protests in the NFL.
At a rally in 2017, Trump said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when someone disrespects our flag to say, ‘get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired”.
As is usual, whether in sports or government, Trump concerns lie with the rating, rather than political substance.