Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James addressed President Donald Trump’s comments on sports and protests on Monday, talking extensively about the issue and the NFL’s response but never using the president’s name.
“First of all, I salute the NFL, the coaches, the players, the owners, the fans. Everyone who had any association with the NFL was unbelievable,” James said. “There was no divide. Even from that guy that continues to try to divide us as people.
“The thing that frustrated me, pissed me off: He was using the sports platform to divide us. Sports is so amazing, what sports can do for everyone, no matter shape, size, race. It brings people together like no other. I’m not going to let one individual, no matter the power, the impact he should have, ever use sport as a platform to divide us.”
James expanded on the comments he made on social media over the weekend. On Saturday, after Trump tweeted that the Golden State Warriors were not welcome at the White House, James sent a tweet that called the president a “bum.”
U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain’t going! So therefore ain’t no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!
— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 23, 2017
It has been retweeted more than 650,000 times — more than any other tweet ever sent by James.
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James said he did not regret the tweet and said that referring to someone as a bum was not what he would define as name-calling.
“If you voted for him, you may have made a mistake,” James said. “Can we sit up here and say I’m trying to make a difference? I want the best for the American people no matter the skin color, the race. We know this is the greatest country in the world. We still have problems, just like everybody else. The people run this country, not one individual, damn sure not him.
“As I have this platform, I will lend my voice, my passion, my money to let these kids know there is hope, greater walks of life. No one individual can stop your dreams from being a reality.”
James said he would continue to use his platform to inspire people.
“My calling is much bigger than this guy,” James said. “I don’t even like saying his name. While I have this platform, I will continue to inspire the state of Ohio not only by what I do on the floor but by putting 1,300 kids into school.”
Asked whether he would take a knee during the national anthem, James said, “My voice is more important than my knee. What I say, I think it should hit home for a lot of people. I don’t think I have to get on my knee to further my point.
“I support [Colin] Kaepernick for being as powerful as he was. Being the one, he had to fall on the sword, unfortunately. I wish I owned a NFL team. I’d sign him today.”
James said one good thing that came out of the weekend was the conversation.