Hours after the Cleveland Cavaliers star slammed the president on Twitter for rescinding his White House invitation to Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry, James spoke out against Trump again ― this time with a powerful message.
“I’m a little frustrated because this guy that we’ve put in charge has tried to divide us once again,” James said in a video published by sports news site Uninterrupted.
“Obviously, we all know what happened with Charlottesville and the divide that that caused,” he added. “And now it’s hitting home for me even more because he’s using sports as the platform to try and divide us.”
Curry recently said he was not planning on visiting the White House, even though his team won the 2017 NBA championship.
Trump responded to the NBA player on Saturday by announcing that he was withdrawing Curry’s invitation to the White House.
In defense of Curry, James slammed the president in a tweet by calling Trump a “bum” and saying that an invitation to the president’s house is no longer “a great honor.”
Expanding on his tweet, James said in the follow-up video that Trump’s attacks on athletes are problematic because sports “brings us together.”
“And for him to try to use this platform to divide us even more, it’s not something I can stand for and it’s not something I can be quiet about,” James said.
“You look at him, asking the NFL owners to get rid of players off the field because they’re exercising their rights ― and that’s not right.”
He continued, “When I wake up I see that a colleague of mine has been uninvited from something he said he didn’t want to go to in the first place, to the White House, this is something I can’t stand for.”
Trump’s recent attacks on athletes ― mainly black athletes ― poured in after the president gave an endorsement speech for Sen. Luther Strange, in which he asked fans of the National Football League to boycott football games if a player does not participate in the national anthem. He also called for NFL team owners to fire any player who protests during the games.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘get that son of a bitch off the field right now, he’s fired?’” Trump asked on Friday.
Trump then doubled down on his attack on NFL players on Saturday by suggesting that professional athletes who have “the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL or other leagues” should not be allowed to exercise their constitutional right to protest.
Trump’s remarks appeared to be directed at Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who protested police brutality and racial injustice against black people by taking a knee during the national anthem before games.
Amid Trump’s Twitter tirade against the NFL, the league’s stars and executives have distanced themselves from the president by publicly denouncing his remarks.
NFL commissioner followed suit and released a statement Saturday calling Trump’s rhetoric against the NFL “divisive” and demonstrating an “unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players.”
And as he stands up for the NFL, James is taking a stronger stance against Trump too.
“We’ve got Jemele Hill, Colin Kaepernick and all these people that are speaking up ― it’s for a greater cause,” the NBA star said.
“It’s for all of us to come together. It’s not about a division... we as American people need to come together even stronger.”