Michael Jordan leads host of NBA owners, execs who denounce Donald Trump

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Ben Rohrbach
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Michael Jordan took issue with Donald Trump’s opposition to free speech. (AP)
Michael Jordan took issue with Donald Trump’s opposition to free speech. (AP)

President Donald Trump set the sports world on fire over the weekend, referring to NFL players who kneel in protest of racial inequality during the national anthem as “sons of bitches” who deserve to be fired, rescinding a White House invitation to the NBA champion Golden State Warriors and — as hundreds of athletes publicly protested the president’s comments — praising both the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins and NASCAR owners for respectively accepting his White House invitation and threatening to fire drivers who dared kneel for “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

I’ll let you do the math on that equation.

For their part, NBA superstars from LeBron James to Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant came to the defense of Stephen Curry, whose “hesitation” Trump decried in his decision to disinvite the Warriors. (For the record, Curry had already made clear his plan to oppose a White House visit after the team scheduled a vote weighing the president’s divisive policies with their respect for the office.)

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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Michele Roberts, with varying degrees of admonishment, also took Trump to task for his incendiary remarks. Now, NBA team owners, executives and coaches are lining up in support of the athletes who Trump condemned over the weekend. Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan was perhaps most vocal of that bunch:

“One of the fundamental rights this country is founded on was freedom of speech, and we have a long tradition of nonviolent, peaceful protest,” Jordan said in a statement responding to the Charlotte Observer’s request for comment. Those who exercise the right to peacefully express themselves should not be demonized or ostracized.

“At a time of increasing divisiveness and hate in this country, we should be looking for ways to work together and support each other and not create more division.

“I support Commissioner Adam Silver, the NBA, its players and all those who wish to exercise their right to free speech.”

In response to Trump’s attacks on the NBA and NFL, two of the nation’s most successful businesses — both of which featured a number of campaign donors — the Warriors were of course first on board:

The statements from Golden State and Jordan were soon followed by other teams around the league:

Atlanta Hawks

Boston Celtics

Dallas Mavericks

Detroit Pistons

Houston Rockets

Rockets GM Daryl Morey subtly makes his voice heard. (Twitter)
Rockets GM Daryl Morey subtly makes his voice heard. (Twitter)

Los Angeles Clippers

Los Angeles Lakers

Memphis Grizzlies

Milwaukee Bucks

New Orleans Pelicans

Sacramento Kings

Kings owner Vivek Ranadive calls the Presidents comments "deeply disappointing." More:

A post shared by Chris Mannix (@chrismannixys) on Sep 24, 2017 at 8:08pm PDT

San Antonio Spurs

Toronto Raptors

Washington Wizards

Meanwhile, during Game 1 of the WNBA Finals on Sunday, Los Angeles Sparks players remained in the locker room during the national anthem, while Minnesota Lynx players locked arms on the court:

The Warriors still plan to celebrate “equality, diversity and inclusion” when they visit Washington, D.C., to play the Wizards on Feb. 28, and the city’s mayor will welcome the reigning champs with open arms:

Now, this all presumes Trump still calls the White House home in February.

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Ben Rohrbach is a contributor for Ball Don’t Lie and Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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