President Donald Trump may have claimed on Wednesday that he’s quit watching the NBA over players kneeling in protest during the national anthem, but Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers wasn’t phased one bit.
“Well, we lost one guy,” Rivers laughed, via the Los Angeles Times. “Like really, I don’t even care. We know that justice is on our side, right?”
In response to Trump saying he’s done with the NBA because of kneeling, Clippers coach Doc Rivers points time his hat, which says “Vote” and says that’s what the president is trying to stop people from doing. pic.twitter.com/3d03KbMsAm
— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) August 5, 2020
Trump: ‘When I see them kneeling, I just turn off the game’
Trump, in an appearance on “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday morning, slammed NBA players who have been kneeling during the national anthem in protest since play resumed inside the bubble at Walt Disney World.
Those protests have been extremely widespread both across the league and elsewhere in the sports world in recent months.
“I think it’s disgraceful,” Trump said. “We work with [the NBA]. We work very hard trying to get them open. I was pushing them to get open. And then I see everyone kneeling during the anthem. It’s not acceptable to me. When I see them kneeling, I just turn off the game. I have no interest in the game.”
Trump continued on his rant — after breaking to say that “nobody has done better for our Black community than me” — and falsely claimed that both the NBA’s and MLB’s ratings have been down since they started kneeling in protest. TNT’s ratings doubled during the NBA’s opening night doubleheader on July 30, and the Nationals-Yankees game that kicked off MLB’s season drew a record 4 million viewers.
Per the Los Angeles Times, TNT, ESPN and ABC have seen a 14% increase in viewership since the NBA resumed in Florida compared to when it suspended play in March, too.
LeBron James talks Trump’s latest comments
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James was asked about Trump’s comments following their 105-86 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night, and appears to be on the same page as Rivers.
LeBron James on Donald Trump saying he won’t watch any more NBA games because people have kneeled to protest systemic racism during the national anthem: “I really don’t think the basketball community are sad about losing his viewership.” pic.twitter.com/l9sP7LiFsi
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) August 6, 2020
“I really don’t think the basketball community are sad about losing his viewership,” James said. “That’s all I got to say ... I hope everyone, no matter the race, no matter the color, no matter the size see what leadership that we have at the top in our country.
“Understand that November is right around the corner and this is a big moment for us as Americans. If we continue to talk about what we want better, want change, we have an opportunity to do that.
“But the game will go on without [Trump’s] eyes on it.”
Doc Rivers wears ‘VOTE’ hat
While speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Rivers donned a blue hat with the word “VOTE” written across it.
The message, he said, was a simple one.
“This hat that I’m wearing is what our president is trying to get us to not do,” Rivers said, via the Los Angeles Times, “which I think is just as disgraceful.”
Trump has been very open about his theory on mail-in voting and believes that allowing it will lead to “the most inaccurate and fraudulent election in history” despite there being no evidence of that. He even suggested delaying the election in November because of it, something that drew widespread bipartisan pushback from lawmakers.
Rivers, along with plenty of others in the league, have focused hard on the importance of voting since play resumed. Doing so, Rivers said, is “vital.”
“First of all, it’s our right,” Rivers said recently, via the Los Angeles Times. “And the fact that there’s so much voter suppression going on with Blacks and Latinos, and really young people, tells you how important voting is.
“And so, I’m not going to tell you who to vote for. I have my opinion, as you all know. But I just urge everyone to vote, exercise that right. We have fought so hard.”
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