After knocking off the Toronto Raptors on Monday night, the Cleveland Cavaliers will travel to Manhattan to prepare to take on the New York Knicks on Wednesday. When they get there, though, they won’t all be staying in the same place.
A group of Cavs players, headlined by four-time NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James, have reportedly “been excused from staying” at the team hotel, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. The hotel in question? You guessed it: the Trump SoHo in lower Manhattan, which bears the name of President-elect Donald J. Trump, who last month beat Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton — whom LeBron endorsed, and for whom he and teammate J.R. Smith stumped at an Ohio rally — in the election to become the 45th president of the United States.
Since Trump’s win Nov. 8, several Cavs players have expressed their disappointment in the results. Reserve forward Richard Jefferson suggested on his Snapchat account that the Cavs’ trip to the nation’s capital to celebrate their championship with President Barack Obama would make them the “last team to visit the White House.” Jefferson later elaborated, “I just look across this league. There’s been other players with ‘scheduling conflicts’ as they like to call it — not necessarily a political stance. But I could see other scheduling conflicts coming up.”
Reserve guard Iman Shumpert echoed Jefferson’s take, telling Complex, “I’m not going to the White House,” should the Cavs win a second consecutive championship. […]
Cavs shooting guard J.R. Smith also posted on Instagram his dismay with the election through the prism of his daughter.
How do you explain to this face what happen? You can be a educated women in your field an not get the job because your a women or cause your black? How do you say "go try your best" even though it won't be good enough. How do I even feel confident sending her on play dates knowing the kids family voted for the racist, sexist person an I don't know how they will treat her when she's gone. How? Seriously How? I understand let go and let God! But damn!
A photo posted by JR Smith (@teamswish) on Nov 9, 2016 at 7:16am PST
Tom Withers of The Associated Press also reported that “James and several teammates,” who remain unnamed, “have decided not to stay at Trump Soho.” Cavs general manager David Griffin told the AP that the team has made plans for a “group that wants to be elsewhere to be together elsewhere,” and told Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com that “upwards of half the team — the Cavs travel with 14 players — may not stay there.”
The decision by James and several other Cavaliers players to stay elsewhere comes three weeks after it was reported that at least three teams — the Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks and Dallas Mavericks — had stopped staying at Trump-affiliated hotels during road trips to New York and Chicago for political reasons. That report, in turn, came after a number of NBA players and coaches expressed dismay at the election of Trump, and after one NBA commentator — ESPN’s Jalen Rose — openly wondered whether future champions of the most heavily African American, socially progressive and liberal-leaning sports league in the United States would “decline the opportunity to visit the White House under [Trump’s] presidency.”
Griffin told Cleveland.com the Cavs aren’t booked at any other Trump-associated hotels for the rest of this season, and noted the Cavs chose the Trump SoHo “because it was the only NBA-caliber hotel in Manhattan in which the team could get guarantees for playoff rooms” — which, when you’re the two-time-defending Eastern Conference champion and defending NBA champion, is kind of a necessity. Should the Cavs wind up returning to New York for a postseason series — you laugh, but check out who’s currently in fifth place in the East! — and should LeBron and co. continue to voice their objection to the president by declining to stay in hotels bearing his name, this might wind up being a pretty big deal come springtime.
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