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LeBron On Trump Rejecting Watching NBA: We’re Not ‘Sad About Losing His Viewership’
US President Barack Obama (R) poses with LeBron James as he welcomes the NBA Champion Miami Heat to the White House to honor the team and their 2012 NBA Championship victory at the White House in Washington, DC, January 28, 2013. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)
Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

On Wednesday, LeBron James responded to a reporter asking him about President Donald Trump stating he turns off his television when NBA players kneel for the national anthem. James said, “I really don’t think the basketball community are sad about losing his viewership.”

“When I see people kneeling during the playing and disrespecting our flag and national anthem, what I do personally is turn off the game,” Trump said on Wednesday’s edition of “Fox & Friends.” “I think it’s disgraceful. We work with [the NBA], we worked with them very hard trying to get them open. I was pushing them to get open. Then I see everybody 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. Let me tell you this, plenty of other people out there, too … and the ratings for the basketball are way down, if you know, and I hear some others are way down, too, including baseball.”

“We gotta stand up for our flag, we have to stand up for our country, we have to stand up for our anthem,” Trump added. “A lot of people agree with me – hey, if I’m wrong, I’m going to lose an election, okay? And that’s okay with me. I will always stand for our country and for our flag.”

In response, James said, “I really don’t think the basketball community are sad about losing his viewership, him viewing the game. And that’s all I got to say. I don’t want to, I’m not going to get into a … because I already know where this could go, where it could lead to for tomorrow for me. I’m not going to get into it.”

But then James continued, “I think our game is in a beautiful position, and we have fans all over the world, and our fans not only love the way we play the game — we try to give it back to them with our commitment to the game, but also respect what else we try to bring to the game and acknowledging what’s right and what’s wrong.”

He then targeted Trump: “And I hope everyone, no matter the race, no matter the color, no matter their size, see what leadership that we have at the top in our country and understand that November is right around the corner, and it’s a big moment for us as Americans, if we would continue to talk about ‘we want better; we want change,’ we have that opportunity to do that.”

He concluded, “The game will go on without his eyes on it. I can sit here and speak for all of us that love the game of basketball: we could care less.”

In late July, James said of Black Lives Matter, “When you’re black, it’s not a movement. It’s a lifestyle. I don’t like the word ‘movement’ because, unfortunately, in America and in society, there ain’t been no damn movement for us.”

Jason Whitlock of Outkick, noting James’ remarks, wrote, “James is pretending to be a warrior for social justice reform, feigning concern for Floyd, Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and their families. The concern is disingenuous because the real agenda is political power. Floyd, Taylor and Arbery are political pawns who won’t be brought back to life by the election of Joe Biden or any politician.”

Whitlock, a religious Christian, continued, “I was a LeBron James supporter throughout his initial stint in Cleveland … My consistent criticism of James didn’t take flight until he entered the political arena during the 2016 election cycle. He campaigned for Hillary Clinton and began his public trolling of Donald Trump … his framing of Trump as an anti-black lunatic is the kind of political ploy that keeps me out of the voting booth.” He added, “James, Smollett and other black celebrities have replaced the black church as the principal tool used to galvanize black voters. As America has turned secular and young black people have abandoned religion, the black church has lost its ability to control black voters.”

Related: Former ESPN Sportswriter: Mainstream Narrative About George Floyd A ‘Race Hoax,’ Body Cam Footage Reveals

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