Fox News' Laura Ingraham went on the air on Thursday night to defend President Donald Trump after LeBron James and Kevin Durant spoke critically about the president in a podcast with ESPN's Cari Champion on James' UNITERRUPTED.
Champion asked James about his tweet from last year in which he called President Trump a "bum" after Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors were uninvited from visiting the White House to celebrate last year's NBA Finals title.
"The climate is hot," James said. "The number one job in America, the appointed person is someone who doesn’t understand the people. And really don’t give a f--- about the people. When I was growing up, there was like three jobs that you looked to for inspiration or you felt like these were the people who could give me light. It was the president of the United States, it was whoever was the best in sports and then it was, like, whoever was the greatest musician at the time. You never thought you could be them, but you could grab inspiration from them. If there was a neighborhood African American cop, and he was cool as hell coming around, I felt like I could be him. I never felt like I could be the president of the United States, but I grabbed inspiration from that. At this time right now, with the president of the United States, it’s at a bad time, and while we cannot change what comes out of that man’s mouth, we can continue to alert the people that watch us, that listen to us, that this is not the way."
Kevin Durant added to James' comments by saying, "When you’re talking about leadership and what’s going on in our country, it’s all about leadership. And I learned that playing basketball. I learned a lot of life skills from playing basketball. ... You need to encourage people and that’s what builds a great team, and I feel like our team as a country is not ran by a great coach."
Ingraham offered her thoughts on her show and called it a "barely intelligible" and "ungrammatical take."
'Shut up and dribble' — Fox News's Laura Ingraham to LeBron and Kevin Durant after their criticism of President Trump pic.twitter.com/0BlokQDIIl
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 16, 2018
"I’m numb to this commentary - like. Must they run their mouths like that? Unfortunately, a lot of kids—and some adults—take these ignorant comments seriously,” Ingraham said. "Look, there might be a cautionary lesson in LeBron for kids: This is what happens when you attempt to leave high school a year early to join the NBA. And it’s always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid a hundred million dollars a year to bounce a ball. Oh, and LeBron and Kevin: You’re great players but no one voted for you. Millions elected Trump to be their coach. So keep the political commentary to yourself or, as someone once said, shut up and dribble."
On Friday afternoon, FOX News spokeswoman issued the following statement from Laura Ingraham:
"In 2003, I wrote a New York Times bestseller called 'Shut Up & Sing,' in which I criticized celebrities like the Dixie Chicks & Barbra Streisand who were trashing then-President George W. Bush. I have used a variation of that title for more than 15 years to respond to performers who sound off on politics. I’ve told Robert DeNiro to 'Shut Up & Act,' Jimmy Kimmel to 'Shut Up & Make Us Laugh,' and just this week told the San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich to 'Shut up & Coach.' If pro athletes and entertainers want to freelance as political pundits, then they should not be surprised when they’re called out for insulting politicians. There was no racial intent in my remarks - false, defamatory charges of racism are a transparent attempt to immunize entertainment and sports elites from scrutiny and criticism. Additionally, we stated on my show that these comments came from an ESPN podcast, which was not the case - the content was unaffiliated with ESPN."