Following a weekend of demonstrations at pro football games across the country, NBA star LeBron James didn’t mince words about President Donald Trump’s role in fueling divisions in the United States on Monday.
“The people run this country—not one individual,” James told reporters at the Cleveland Cavaliers’ media day on Monday. “And damn sure not him.”
The remarks came after dozens of NFL players linked arms, knelt, and, in some cases, didn’t show up at all while the national anthem played before games on Sunday. The players’ demonstrations erupted after Trump, at a rally in Alabama on Friday, encouraged NFL owners to fire any “son of a bitch” who protested racial injustice during the national anthem, including former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
“We are at a time where the most powerful position in the world has an opportunity to bring us closer together as a people and inspire the youth and put the youth at ease on saying that it is okay for me to walk down the street and not be judged because of the color of my skin or because of my race,” James told reporters. “And he has no recollection of that. He doesn’t even care. Maybe he does. But he doesn’t care.”
James told reporters he didn’t regret calling Trump a “bum” on Twitter after the president announced he would withdraw an invitation to the Golden State Warriors to visit the White House. “He doesn’t understand the power that he has being the leader of this beautiful country,” he told reporters.
LeBron explains his “U bum” tweet pic.twitter.com/vH9M1OiLbK
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 25, 2017
“I’m not going to let one individual, no matter the power, no matter the impact he should have, or she should have, ever use sport as a platform to divide us,” James continued, adding that if he owned an NFL team, he’d sign the free agent Kaepernick to a contract “today.”
LeBron James comments on politics at #CavsMediaDay pic.twitter.com/vQCrdWTmst
— 92.3 The Fan (@923TheFan) September 25, 2017
LeBron James on potentially taking a knee for the anthem: "My voice is more powerful than my knee" #3Cavs
— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) September 25, 2017
"I wished I owned an NFL team, because I'd sign @Kaepernick7 today.” — @KingJames
— Sabrina Siddiqui (@SabrinaSiddiqui) September 25, 2017
Watch his full comments below (h/t @BenAxelrod):