Whether or not President Donald Trump watches NBA games makes no difference to New Orleans Pelicans guard JJ Redick.
After the Pelicans and Utah Jazz opened the NBA's 2019-20 season restart Thursday night by kneeling during the anthem in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, Redick gave his candid thoughts on a tweet where Trump said once a player kneels during the anthem "the game is over for me."
Looking forward to live sports, but any time I witness a player kneeling during the National Anthem, a sign of great disrespect for our Country and our Flag, the game is over for me!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 21, 2020
"First of all, I don't think anybody in the NBA cares if President Trump watches basketball. I couldn't care less," Redick told Yahoo Sports. "As far as his base, I think regardless of the specificity of tweeting about the NBA, every tweet of his is meant to divide, every tweet is meant to incite, every tweet is meant to embolden his base. So [last week] was no different."
Trump's tweet, from last Tuesday, came two days before the Major League Baseball season opener between the Washington Nationals and New York Yankees. Players and staff from both teams all took a knee together prior to the anthem before standing while it played.
Like the first game of the NBA's reopening from the bubble in Orlando, players and staff from the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers kneeled during the anthem prior to the second game. Players from every NBA team have the option to wear a message in support of social justice and racial equality in place of the name on their jerseys.
"Look, we want people to enjoy the NBA and we love our fans, but I think there has to be some level of acceptance and acknowledgement in what our league is saying, what our league is doing and what is happening across this country," Redick said. "And the people who are unwilling to acknowledge that, maybe they shouldn't be fans."
One person who does support what the players are doing is the league's commissioner. Despite the NBA's long-standing rule that players must stand for the national anthem, Silver said players won't be disciplined.
"I respect our teams' unified act of peaceful protest for social justice and under these unique circumstances will not enforce our long-standing rule requiring standing during the playing of our national anthem," Silver said.
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