The line of NBA players, coaches, executives and owners who condemn Donald Trump grows longer by the day. Philadelphia 76ers rookie and Australian native Ben Simmons is the latest, dubbing the president “an idiot” and far worse for his recent remarks about NFL players and the national anthem.
To this point, LeBron James had been the most vocal of an ever-growing NBA contingent — everyone from Michael Jordan to Gregg Popovich — that has criticized Trump for rescinding his White House invitation to the NBA champion Golden State Warriors and referring to athletes who kneel in protest of racial inequality during “The Star-Spangled Banner” as “sons of bitches” who deserve to be fired.
Simmons went a step further on Fox News Australia when asked about LeBron’s comments:
“I think he’s an idiot,” said Simmons. “If we were in Australia right now, a lot of people would call him a d***head, and that’s how I personally feel. Some of the comments he’s just made about players, the NFL and the anthem — I think everyone respects America and everyone thinks America is a great country, but he’s the wrong person to be in charge of it.
“I think, as a man, you’re not supposed to be tweeting like that, saying remarks about women, what people should be doing, how you talk to leaders of other countries and putting America in a situation where it doesn’t need to be like that. I think he just brings more anger and hatred to the U.S. It’s unneeded.
“I think the U.S. is a great country. I love being here. I’m very appreciative of the job I’m in. I think he’s the wrong person to be in charge. He’s definitely not a leader.”
The 21-year-old former No. 1 overall pick and NBA Rookie of the Year favorite went on to describe Trump’s comments — from the Twitter attacks on the NBA and NFL to the president’s remarks about women on an “Access Hollywood” bus — as disrespectful and “a bad reflection on everyone here.”
Simmons also referenced Trump’s contentious call with Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, in which the president “guaranteed” vetted Syrian refugees were “bad people,” called the U.S. “a dumping ground for the rest of the world,” told Turnbull he’s “brokered many a stupid deal,” and offered this before getting off the phone: “I have had it. … This is the most unpleasant call of the day.”
James referred to Trump as a “bum” over the weekend, and then doubled down on Monday. “The people run this country,” he said. “And damn sure not him.” Popovich described the president as a “childish” elected official whose “fear-mongering race-baiting” has made the United States “an embarrassment to the world.” I guess now we can add “idiot” and “d***head” to that NBA list, too.
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