Hours after President Donald Trump said NFL players hho kneel during the national anthem should be “fired,” LeBron James responded in a video statement.
In the video, James expanded on a tweet he sent earlier in the day Saturday, when he called Trump a “bum” for saying Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors weren’t invited to the White House.
“I’m just a little frustrated because this guy that we’ve put in charge has tried to divide us once again,” James said said. “We all know what happened with Charlottesville and the divide that it caused. And now, it’s hitting home more for me because he’s now using sports as the platform to try and divide us.”
James continued that Trump is using his divisive tactics to try and bar professional athletes from using their First Amendment rights.
“For him to try to use this platform to divide us even more, it’s not something I can stand for and it’s not something I can be quiet about,” James said. “It’s not about dividing. We as American people need to come together even stronger.”
Watch a video of LeBron’s video response to Trump below:
On Friday, Trump urged the NFL’s owners to fire players who don’t stand for the national anthem, calling them “sons of b****es.” He added in his speech at a rally in Huntsville, Alabama that the football league is seeing declining ratings because it’s not as violent as it used to be.
Saturday morning, Trump took to Twitter to address the prospect of Curry and the Warriors visiting the White House for winning the 2016-17 NBA Championship. He tweeted visiting the White House “is considered a great honor” and the invitation has now been “withdrawn.”
On Friday, Curry said at a press conference he would vote against going to the White House if an invitation was offered.
In response to Trump’s remarks, the Warriors also issued a team statement Saturday, saying the franchise was “disappointed” it didn’t have the chance to share its thoughts on “issues impacting our communities that we felt would be important to raise.”
Instead of visiting the White House when the team is in Washington D.C. in February, it vowed to use the trip as a chance “to celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion.”
The recent developments of Trump’s battle with professional sports has sparked outrage on social media, with many athletes and owners chiming in with their thoughts on the matter.
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