Trump vs. the wide world of sports: a timeline
The president’s comments about Stephen Curry as well as the NFL are just the latest in a long and combative, but sometimes cozy relationship between Trump and sports
UPDATE: June 5, 2018 — President Trump is back at it, by breaking up with the Philadelphia Eagles before they could break up with him. As word emerged Monday that the Super Bowl champions would send an unusually small contingent — no African-American players were reportedly planning on attending — the president rescinded the invitation without notifying the team and further fanned the flames regarding national anthem protests.
UPDATE: Nov. 20, 2017 — Believe it or not, President Trump is still finding ways to weave himself and his hot takes into the world of sports, most recently calling for Marshawn Lynch’s suspension. Similar to our Colin Kaepernick watch, consider this list an ongoing entry. Because, quite frankly, should we expect Trump and the sports world to stop colliding anytime soon?
As it stands right now, President Donald Trump is at odds with three of the most influential names in pop culture: Colin Kaepernick, Stephen Curry and LeBron James. This, though, is not Trump’s first go-round with the world of sports. The 45th president of the United States’ connection to teams, leagues, players, owners and sporting events has roots. Very deep roots.
Trump’s involvement in the short-lived United States Football League is the president’s introductory claim to sporting fame/infamy. The league lasted from just 1983 to 1985, and its demise is largely placed on Trump’s shoulders. During a 1984 interview, Trump noted that he “could have” purchased the Dallas Cowboys. He believed, however, that the New Jersey Generals were a better investment. As for the “poor guy” who would eventually buy the Cowboys: “It’s a no-win situation for him, because if he wins, well, so what, they’ve won through the years, and if he loses, which seems likely because they’re having troubles, he’ll be known to the world as a loser.” Jerry Jones purchased the Cowboys in 1989 for $140 million. Nearly three decades later, the Cowboys are the world’s most profitable franchise, valued at nearly $5 billion, and Jones, a Trump supporter to the tune of at least $1 million, is now a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
There’s also Trump’s longtime association with boxing. In 1990, Trump took the stand in a trial over contractual disputes with regard to a Mike Tyson-Buster Douglas rematch. (Atlantic City’s Trump Plaza, prior to its shuttering, had been a premiere destination for prizefights.) Golf, too, is a much-chronicled obsession of the president — he owns 17 clubs worldwide. His decades-long involvement in the sports world, which included a failed 2014 bid to purchase the Buffalo Bills, has won him legions of friends and supporters, including golfer John Daly, Dennis Rodman, Bobby Knight, Mike Ditka, retired mixed martial artist Tito Ortiz and UFC president Dana White, and that number has only grown since he announced his intention to run for president of the United States in June of 2015.
The following is a timeline of Trump’s increasingly antagonistic clashes with the world of sports since his candidacy and election.
July 14, 2015 — Candidate Trump takes on the LPGA
A week earlier, candidate Trump stood by controversial comments he’d made surrounding Mexican immigrants. The LPGA Tour was immediately forced to distance itself from the remarks since its British Open would be held at Trump’s Turnberry Alisa course in Scotland. Trump, in response, addressed a letter directly to tour commissioner Michael Wahn. “You have an absolutely binding contract to play the great Turnberry Ailsa course but, based on your rude comment to the press, please let this letter serve to represent that, subject to a conversation with me on the details, I would be willing to let you play the Women’s British Open in two weeks, at another course rather than magnificent Turnberry [which I own].”
Sept. 3, 2015 — Abdul-Jabbar calls Trump a bully; Trump shoots back
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, a six-time league MVP, author and civil rights activist — wrote a Washington Post column criticizing what he felt was Trump’s lack of respect for the media’s rights. Why is this so ironic? Well, for one, Abdul-Jabbar’s distant relationship with the media has long been documented. And two, Trump’s response was exactly what Abdul-Jabbar was talking about in the first place: attempting to bully a writer. “Now I know why the press has treated you so badly — they couldn’t stand you,” Trump wrote, also in the Post. “The fact is that you don’t have a clue about life and what has to be done to make America great again!”
Sept. 8, 2015 — That’s a “Make America Great Again” hat in Tom Brady’s locker
It’s the hat that’s dogged New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady ever since. In 2015, only three months into Trump’s candidacy, the #MAGA hat introduced itself to pop culture and hasn’t looked back. Brady probably had no clue how a Trump campaign and ultimately Trump’s presidency would play itself out on the fabric of American history. Back then, it was a gift from a friend who’d occasionally call and, per Brady’s own admission then, offer motivational speeches.
Sept. 18, 2015 — AHL executive: Prove to me you can run a hockey team before the country
One of the most known-unknown vocal Trump critics is Vance Lederman, chief financial officer of the American Hockey League’s Syracuse Crunch (an affiliate of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning). Running a country isn’t exactly the same as running high-end hotels. That’s how Lederman saw it when he challenged Trump to come run his team. “You running for president is like a Brooklyn boy being a professional hockey coach,” he said in a YouTube video. “So, Donald, here is what I’m going to do: I got an invite for you. You’re a big man, you want to be all for the people. I invite you to come to Syracuse to learn how to be a professional hockey coach.” Trump never responded, prompting Lederman to amend his offer. Coaching was off the table. He now wanted Trump to prove he could run a sports team.
Nov. 2, 2015 — Following in George Steinbrenner’s footsteps
On the campaign trail, presidential candidate Trump stopped by Colin Cowherd’s show. Trump said he’s just fine with gambling in sports because “it’s happening anyway.” Fair enough. And, given the chance, he noted that if the circumstances were different, he’d like to buy the New York Yankees — and follow in the footsteps of his “great friend” George Steinbrenner. The Yankees are not for sale, and as the most valuable team in Major League Baseball, one would need in excess of $3.5 billion just to make an offer.
Dec. 7, 2015 — Trump forgets Muhammad Ali and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ever existed
Obama said in his speech that Muslims are our sports heroes. What sport is he talking about, and who? Is Obama profiling?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 7, 2015
Dec. 14, 2015 — Trump comes to the defense of Pete Rose
President goes to bat for baseball’s all-time hits king.
Can't believe Major League Baseball just rejected @PeteRose_14 for the Hall of Fame. He's paid the price. So ridiculous – let him in!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 14, 2015
July 7, 2016 — MLB’s Latin community wary of a Trump presidency
Major League Baseball has made a commitment to expand its game further into Mexico. One of Trump’s biggest campaign promises was to build a wall along the Mexican border. In a statement that becomes more prophetic by the day, then-San Francisco Giants infielder Ramiro Pena expressed concerns. “It does worry me a lot that he could be elected president,” he said. “For the Latin community … it would make things more difficult when it comes to immigration, based on what he has said. The comments he has made about Mexicans worry you.”
Aug. 29, 2016 — Trump says Kaepernick should find another country to live in
The biggest story in sports over the past year has been Colin Kaepernick and his refusal to stand for the national anthem (for the record, a controversial piece of music when taken literally) last season. “I think it’s a terrible thing, and, you know, maybe he should find a country that works better for him, let him try, it’s not gonna happen,” Trump said. This won’t be the last time the newbie politician addresses the quarterback.
Oct. 30, 2016 — Trump blames NFL ratings decline on the 2016 election … and Kaepernick
That’s because he would do it again two months later, just days before the 2016 election. When reports confirmed the NFL’s ratings had taken a double-digit hit, for Trump, only two things explained the trend. Politics was one, and in a sense he was right. The election was the story in America at the time. This was during the final weeks of the 2016 election, the most volatile and explosive perhaps in U.S. history. The second, Trump asserted, was, “Kaepernick. Kaepernick.”
Nov. 9, 2016 — LeBron searches for answers
LeBron James had officially endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. The day after the election, the four-time MVP joined millions across the country struggling to come to grips with the fact that candidate Trump was now officially President-elect Trump. With Kendrick Lamar’s classic rallying cry, “Alright,” as the soundtrack, ’Bron took to Instagram with an inspiring message. “Minorities and Women in all please know this isn’t the end, it’s just a very challenging obstacle that we will overcome!!” he said. “Even if who’s in office now doesn’t, Know that I LOVE [Y’ALL]!!” This wouldn’t be the last The King would address the 45th president.
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As I woke up today looking and searching for answers on what has happened this song hit it right on the head! If we continue the faith(as hard as it may be to do so) we will BE ALRIGHT!! Parents and leaders of our children please let them know they can still change the world for the better! Don't lose a bit of faith! They're our future and we must remain stronger than ever!! Yes we all wanna lace up the boots, put on the hard hats and strike but that's not the answer. Love, genuine LOVE and FAITH will be the only thing that can get us through this. Minorities and Women in all please know that this isn't the end, it's just a very challenging obstacle that we will overcome!! The man above will never put something in our paths that we can handle no matter how difficult it may feel/be! To all the youth out there I PROMISE I'll continue to lead u guys every single day without no hesitation!! Time to educate and even more mold my children into being the greatest model citizens they can become in life! They will continue the legacy beyond life! Lastly, Even if whos now in office doesn't, Know that I LOVE YOU'LL!!!
Nov. 16, 2016 — Mayweather visits Trump at Trump Tower
The photo of Floyd Mayweather, then sporting a 49-0 record, visiting Trump Tower did exactly what seems to be intended: ignite controversy stemming from both men’s past transgressions, in particular with women. Mayweather doubled down on the picture by attending the Trump inauguration two months later. As he’d said a week before to TMZ Sports, “Y’all gonna see me in D.C. looking good. I got a tux and everything ready.” More on Floyd/Trump shortly …
Dec. 2, 2016 — Trump stiff-arms NFL’s ratings
President-elect Trump again relishes the NFL’s ratings debacle. “Down 20, 21 percent,” he gloated at a rally in Cincinnati, “and it was because of us.” Keyword there being us.
Dec. 5, 2016 — LeBron says no to a stay at a Trump hotel
Don’t expect to see LeBron James at Trump SoHo’s Bar d’Eau — or anyplace else on the property. James and several teammates refused the Trump accommodations during a New York road trip. When asked about his decision? “It’s just my personal preference,” he said.
Dec. 13, 2016 — Jim Brown, Ray Lewis have ‘fantastic’ meeting with Trump
Jim Brown and Ray Lewis are two of the greatest football players to ever live. The Hall of Fame running back and longtime activist and future first-ballot Hall of Fame linebacker have been two of Trump’s most prominent black supporters — and also two of the most prominent black athletes to denounce Kaepernick. Both apparently believe the Trump administration will stimulate economic development in urban areas and “change the whole scheme of what our kids see.” Brown and Lewis’ “fantastic” meeting with Trump two weeks before Christmas came just hours after Kanye West met with the president-elect.
Dec. 19, 2016 — Trump picks Florida Panthers owner Vincent Viola as nominee for Secretary of the Army
Billionaire Wall Street trader Vincent Viola, a 1977 West Point alum, served in the 101st Airborne Division and stayed in the U.S. Army Reserve after his active duty. Also? Viola is the owner of the NHL’s Florida Panthers. Two months later, Viola withdrew his name from consideration, citing the difficulty of “untangling himself from business ties.”
Feb. 8, 2017 — Stephen Curry wasn’t feeling Under Armour’s Trump love
First, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank called President Trump an “asset” to the country. Second, and almost immediately, the company’s No. 1 ambassador, Steph Curry, denounced the company’s praise. Third, Under Armour released a statement saying the praise was meant from a business perspective only. Curry understood and appreciated the statement, but: “If there is a situation where I can look at myself in the mirror and say they don’t have my best intentions, they don’t have the right attitude about taking care of people,” Curry said. “If I can say the leadership is not in line with my core values, then there is no amount of money, there’s no platform I wouldn’t jump off if it wasn’t in line with who I am … that’s a decision I will make every single day when I wake up. If something is not in line with what I’m about, then, yeah, I definitely need to take a stance in that respect.” Bonus: Former WWE CEO and president Linda McMahon joined the administration in February 2017 as the head of the Small Business Administration.
March 21, 2017 — President Trump takes pride in Kaepernick’s exile
Four days before, Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman reveals, per an unnamed AFC general manager, that some teams fear Trump’s response should Kaepernick be signed. This was all the 45th commander-in-chief needed to get him riled up. “Our inner cities will find a rebirth of hope, safety and opportunity,” he said during a speech in Kentucky. “Your San Francisco quarterback, I’m sure nobody ever heard of him.” He wasn’t done. “It was reported that NFL owners don’t want to pick him up because they don’t want to get a nasty tweet from Donald Trump. Do you believe that? I just saw that.”
April 19, 2017 — Half of the New England Patriots don’t make the trip to the White House
A total of 68 players were invited to pull up on President Trump at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Only 34 made the trip. More than a few of them — most notably Martellus Bennett, who said so before even taking his shoulder pads off after the Patriots’ historic comeback victory in Super Bowl LI — were adamant their motivations for not going were strictly political. Tom Brady, a longtime Trump friend and proponent of Kaepernick’s return to the league, was a no-show as well.
May 14, 2017 — Popovich unloads on Trump
Legendary San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has a well-documented history of going directly at Trump. Pop’s pre-Spurs life — graduation from the Air Force Academy with a degree in Soviet Studies, time spent as an intelligence officer in Eastern Europe — gave added context to his criticisms of the president. Prior to Game 1 of the Western Conference finals vs. the Warriors, Pop gave his own impromptu State of the Union: “… To this day I feel like there’s a cloud, a pall, over the whole country, in a paranoid, surreal sort of way that’s got nothing to do with the Democrats losing the election,” he told reporters. “It’s got to do with the way one individual conducts himself. It’s embarrassing. It’s dangerous to our institutions and what we all stand for and what we expect the country to be. But for this individual, he’s at a game show and everything that happens begins and ends with him, not our people or our country. When he talks about those things, that’s just a ruse. That’s disingenuous, cynical and fake.” Tell ’em how you really feel, Pop.
June 14, 2017 — That’s gonna be a ‘no’ from Steph, dog
While the two-time MVP made news recently about not visiting the White House, let’s not act like he hasn’t been saying the same thing since the Warriors captured their second title in three years. “Somebody asked me about it a couple months ago, a hypothetical, if a championship were to happen: ‘What would I do?’ ” Curry said at his exit interview. “I answered that I wouldn’t go. That hasn’t changed.”
June 30, 2017 — Cubs reportedly wanted Trump to tell recently released catcher Miguel Montero he was “fired”
Backup Chicago Cubs catcher Miguel Montero was already going to be released. Three days prior, he threw starting pitcher Jake Arrieta under the bus after a stolen base fiasco. He was released from the team. On the surface, that was not necessarily a huge deal, but according to baseball savant Peter Gammons, some players and front-office personnel wanted to really rub it in on Montero by having Trump tell him, “You’re fired” (his Apprentice catchphrase) during an unofficial team White House visit. They ultimately decided against doing so.
Aug. 15, 2017 — LeBron, Steve Nash and the sports world react to Trump’s Charlottesville response
The entire country was fixated on the protests in Charlottesville that turned deadly. President Trump’s infamous comment about blame being on “both sides” doused gasoline on an already uncontrollable blaze, leading many athletes to voice their opinion.
Hate has always existed in America. Yes we know that but Donald Trump just made it fashionable again! Statues has nothing to do with us now!
— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 15, 2017
To defend white supremacists and then slang his shitty ass grape juice pretty much sums the man up
— Steve Nash (@SteveNash) August 15, 2017
On one hand you had the Nazis who were violent & on the other the allied soldiers were very violent. So it's a draw. Many sides you see.
— Brandon McCarthy (@BMcCarthy32) August 15, 2017
Aug. 17, 2017 — Kevin Durant keeps it a buck
If there’s anyone who benefits from Trump going full Trump, it’s Kevin Durant — who recently has been the butt of jokes after his recent Twitter debacle. However, back in his hometown of Seat Pleasant, Maryland, last month, the 2017 Finals MVP let his feelings on visiting the White House be known. “Nah, I won’t do that,” he said. “I don’t respect who’s in office now.”
Sept. 13, 2017 — The White House calls for Jemele Hill’s job
The Six’s Jemele Hill sent the tweets heard ’round the world when she called Trump a white supremacist. The situation, however, spilled overboard when White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dubbed the tweets “outrageous” and called for Hill’s job.
Sept. 15, 2017 — Mayweather co-signs Trump’s “locker room talk”
The biggest controversy Trump encountered on the campaign trail was, by far, the leaked audio from his 2005 Access Hollywood appearance, which included the phrase “grab them by the p—y.” Through a chain of events that no one saw coming, the gaffe didn’t cost Trump the election. And one person who didn’t have an issue with the comments was Floyd Mayweather. In the 50-0 champion’s eyes, Trump spoke how “real men” do. “Real men speak like, ‘Man, she had a fat a–. You see her a–? I had to squeeze her a–. I had to grab that fat a–.’ ” This is what Mayweather told Hollywood Unlocked. “So he’s talking locker room talk. Locker room talk. ‘I’m the man, you know what I’m saying? You know who I am. Yeah, I grabbed her by the p—y. And?’ ”
Sept. 22, 2017 — The ‘son of a bitch’ speech
For an administration that operates under anything but the veil of normal presidential decorum, last Friday’s speech was a special breed of aberrant. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners,” he said, “when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired! He’s fired!’ ”
Sept. 23, 2017 — Trump takes to Twitter to call out the sports world
On his platform of choice, Trump called out both Stephen Curry and the NFL for, essentially, not “sticking to sports.”
Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team.Stephen Curry is hesitating,therefore invitation is withdrawn!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL,or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
…our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem. If not, YOU'RE FIRED. Find something else to do!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
Roger Goodell of NFL just put out a statement trying to justify the total disrespect certain players show to our country.Tell them to stand!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
Sept. 23, 2017 — The NBA/NFL claps back at President Trump
While he would later post a video further expressing his thoughts, LeBron James caused all hell to break loose shortly before when he came to the defense of a man he’s squared off against during the past three NBA Finals. ’Bron, who is careful with his words, spared no feelings delivering a certified haymaker (which may or may not affect the fashion world):
U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain't going! So therefore ain't no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!
— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 23, 2017
Steph then saluted ’Bron for having his back and running the 2-on-1 political fast break with him. All while rhetorically wondering why the president chooses to demean certain individuals and not others.
With everything that's going on in our country, why are YOU focused on who's kneeling and visiting the White House??? #StayInYoLane
— Chris Paul (@CP3) September 23, 2017
And I doubt he's man enough to call any of those players a son of a bitch to their face…
— Chris Paul (@CP3) September 23, 2017
Draymond Green joined the party. As did his coach Steve Kerr. Kerr doubled back just in case his stance wasn’t clear the first time. Bradley Beal is still searching for answers. J.R. Smith is praying for Barack Obama’s return while seriously contemplating living in the gutter. Damian Lillard used a well-placed sleepover analogy. Commissioner Adam Silver was disappointed the Warriors opted out of a White House visit but said he was proud of the league’s players speaking out on issues resonating with them.
That’s just the NBA. Coincidentally, the University of North Carolina men’s basketball team announced it would no longer be visiting the White House. Oakland Athletics rookie catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first MLB player to kneel for the anthem. As for the NFL, the league released a lukewarm statement, whereas the NFLPA’s was far more direct. The league stands on the cusp of a truly monumental line in the sand. How the players respond Sunday and Monday night is a historic, generational defining moment that will assume immediate residency in the annals of the game’s legacy. Many wasted no time in expressing grievances, including Richard Sherman. Despite his comments regarding Kaepernick as a “distraction” last month, Bills running back LeSean McCoy tweeted, “It’s really sad man…our president is a asshole.” Others, like New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan, called to mind Colin Kaepernick’s original protest. Yet, it’s Teresa Kaepernick whose response may have reverberated the most. She is, for the record, the mother of the athlete who helped light a fire to this entire movement.
Guess that makes me a proud bitch!
— Teresa Kaepernick (@B4IleaveU) September 23, 2017
Sept. 30, 2017 — South Carolina women’s hoops still haven’t received White House invite
Led by coach Dawn Staley, the South Carolina women’s hoops program still hadn’t heard anything back from the Oval Office as to when they could pull up on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., despite winning the school’s first national championship in April. That’s a whole five months they were in the dark. “That in itself speaks volumes,” Staley told the Associated Press. “We won before those other teams won their championships. I don’t know what else has to happen.”
Oct. 10, 2017 — Pittsburgh Penguins visit the White House
I mean, because someone has to, right? During Trump’s ongoing beef with the NFL and NBA, the NHL’s reigning Stanley Cup champions, the Pittsburgh Penguins, decided to visit the White House. Asked why they decided to make the trek as a team, the face of the franchise, superstar Sidney Crosby, said simply, “There’s absolutely no politics involved” in the visit. If only it were that simple, Sidney. If only it were that simple.
Oct. 16, 2017 — James Dolan doesn’t want smoke with Trump
Ah, yes, James Lawrence Dolan — otherwise known as New York’s “favorite” team owner. Dolan took it upon himself to nip things in the bud early, ensuring his team wouldn’t endure the 140-character wrath of President Twitter Fingers. Less than a week after Trump’s spat with Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors, the executive chairman of the Madison Square Garden Committee decided to write a $125,000 check. For what, you ask? For Trump’s re-election efforts, duh. The check was dated Sept. 28, which was five days after Trump rescinded his White House visit offer to the Golden State Warriors.
Oct. 17, 2017 — Popovich calls Trump a ‘soulless coward’
We never have to worry about San Antonio Spurs future first-ballot Hall of Fame coach Gregg Popovich speaking his mind. Especially when it involves the 45th president of the United States. The five-time championship-winning coach and U.S. Air Force Academy graduate responded to Trump’s critique of former President Barack Obama and others saying they “didn’t make calls” to the families of deceased soldiers. He didn’t stop there either. He also labeled Trump “a pathological liar in the White House, unfit intellectually, emotionally and psychologically to hold this office, and the whole world knows it.” Tell ’em how you really feel, Pop.
Oct. 17, 2017 — Trump criticizes NFL for not penalizing players for kneeling
Trump is out for blood on this NFL players kneeling issue. Which is exactly why he voiced his displeasure — via Twitter, of course — on the NFL’s decision not to discipline players who did not stand for the anthem.
Oct. 24, 2017 — Bruce Maxwell claims pro-Trump waiter refused to serve him
Remember Bruce Maxwell, the Oakland A’s catcher who became the first MLB player to take a knee during the anthem? Maxwell claims he and a local politician had sat down to grab something to eat when the waiter, Matt Henry, approached him. “He was like, ‘You’re the guy who took the knee? I voted for Trump and I stand for everything he stands for.’ ” And before you ask, this allegedly happened in an Alabama restaurant. Two days later, Henry reached out to — wait for it — Fox News claiming Maxwell’s side of the story was unequivocally false. To complicate an already hectic week for Maxwell, a day later he was also charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct after allegedly pulling a gun out on a woman.
Nov. 17, 2017 — USC women absent from White House celebration
After making news for not receiving an invite, in early October, the school learned it would soon be receiving an invitation. The actual invite came earlier in November, as the ladies were asked to be part of a celebration that would honor a group of recent national champions at the White House on Nov. 17. They promptly told the highest office in the land, in more professional terms, “Nah, we good, fam.” You get the feeling they just wanted the invite all along so they could decline it.
Nov. 19, 2017 — Trump says he should have left UCLA players in jail
By far one of the more perplexing sports stories of the year centered on the recent shoplifting incident in China involving UCLA basketball players Cody Riley, Jalen Hill and, most notably, LiAngelo Ball — younger brother of Lakers rookie Lonzo, older brother of LaMelo and, of course, son of LaVar Ball. Well, Trump caught feelings after hearing LaVar’s claim that he had nothing to do with his son and teammates being released from Chinese custody. A clear diversionary tactic for the very serious issues involving the Trump administration, but it’s another example of the sports and athletes whom 45 uses to make examples out of. FYI, too, LaVar Ball will be on CNN Monday night to discuss Trump. 2017 is going out with haymakers.
Nov. 20, 2017 — Trump says NFL should suspend Marshawn Lynch
Marshawn Lynch, as he has for quite some time now, sits during the national anthem before the Oakland Raiders’ loss Sunday to the New England Patriots. Marshawn Lynch, in a plot twist worthy of a daytime Emmy, stands for the Mexican national anthem. Trump furiously takes to Twitter calling for Lynch’s suspension — which, if it happened, would probably just lead him right back to his high school to do this again. 45 should tread lightly. He doesn’t want smoke with Oakland. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever.
Nov. 20, 2017 — On CNN, LaVar Ball doubles down on Trump
If anyone thought LaVar Ball would grovel at the President’s feet, they were thinking of two different individuals named LaVar Ball. Father Ball appeared on CNN in an interview with host Chris Cuomo who became a living, breathing example of the quote The Wire’s Marlo Stanfield made famous: “You want it to be one way, but it’s the other way.” In so many ways, Cuomo tried to get LaVar to thank the President for returning his son, LiAngelo, and his teammates Cody Riley and Jalen Hill from China to the States, following their shoplifting incident in China. But LaVar Ball went full LaVar. He doesn’t believe 45 had anything to do with his son returning home. And he criticized Trump for focusing on him instead of the countless other issues facing the country.
Nov. 22, 2017 — Trump vs. LaVar takes an even uglier turn
On one hand, Pres. Trump is correct. Shoplifting, especially in a foreign country, is a very serious crime. Just binge watch Locked Up Abroad for proof. And the three UCLA players are lucky they didn’t suffer the same fate as Wendell Brown. On the other, it says a lot about the situation that the leader of the free world wants LaVar to thank him—at this point—in front of the world. Trump visited his firing range, also known as Twitter, to unleash on the elder Ball, calling him an “ungrateful fool” and a “poor man’s version of Don King, but without the hair.”
Nov. 24 — LeBron impacts the family business
Remember a year ago when LeBron James refused to stay at the Trump SoHo during a road trip to New York? Turns out The King’s decision created a mass exodus of high-end clients. CIM Group, the holding company for all Trump business ventures, agreed to a deal to “exit” the luxury establishment. It won’t be called Trump SoHo anymore, a change that could occur as early as next month. Consider this further proof that James’ statement on media day that he didn’t necessarily need to sit out the national anthem to make his impact be felt was spot-on.
Nov. 28 — Same crutch, different day
At least 24 players kneeling this weekend at NFL stadiums that are now having a very hard time filling up. The American public is fed up with the disrespect the NFL is paying to our Country, our Flag and our National Anthem. Weak and out of control!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 28, 2017
With controversy swirling around any number of topics involving his name — Monday’s “Pocahontas” comments during an event honoring Navajo code talkers, and a suggestion involving a “fake news” March Madness-like tournament — 45 once again returned to his favorite topic.
June 5 — You can’t Fire Me, Because I quit
With a reportedly small number of players planning to accept the invitation to the White House, Trump abruptly changed his mind. In a statement, the White House issued a statement writing that the Eagles disagree “with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country.”
Former Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith responded on Twitter, pushing back hard against the narrative presented by the nation’s leader.
So many lies smh
Here are some facts
1. Not many people were going to go
2. No one refused to go simply because Trump “insists” folks stand for the anthem
3. The President continues to spread the false narrative that players are anti military pic.twitter.com/89GUNhJ4eE
— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) June 4, 2018
There are a lot of people on the team that have plenty of different views. The men and women that wanted to go should’ve been able to go. It’s a cowardly act to cancel the celebration because the majority of the people don’t want to see you. To make it about the anthem is foolish
— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) June 4, 2018
If you are going to tweet…tweet facts…no one on the Eagles took a knee last season………. https://t.co/7aiTuvVKe8
— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) June 5, 2018
This has been updated to reflect further news since the piece was first published in September of 2017.