President Donald Trump drew the ire of professional athletes for comments he made at a rally in Alabama on Friday night and on Twitter on Saturday morning.
Trump first took aim at the NFL, saying team owners should fire players for taking a knee during the national anthem.
The President said owners should respond to players by saying, “Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired. He’s fired!”
He doubled down on the comments on Saturday afternoon.
Last year, Colin Kaepernick – formerly with the San Francisco 49ers, but currently without a team – drew national attention for refusing to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner” prior to kickoff.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in August 2016.
Trump also singled out the NBA’s Golden State Warriors player Stephen Curry.
Curry said on Friday that he didn’t want to take part in the traditional White House visit that league champions make.
Trump responded on Saturday morning, tweeting, “Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!”
NBA star LeBron James was among the first professional athletes to respond to the President’s comments. “Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!” he wrote.
The Houston Rockets’ Chris Paul questioned the President’s priorities – suggesting he had other things to worry about.
Kobe Bryant said Trump’s words inspired hatred.
Other athletes shared the belief that many others were expressing online – that Trump was targeting black athletes.
“Unbelievable what he just said,” football player Cecil Shorts wrote of Trump’s comments in Alabama. Shorts pointed to a tweet from author and activist Shaun King, who had raised the race issue.
Here’s what other athletes had to say: