When six NBA teams boycotted their playoff games on Wednesday and contemplated sitting out the rest of the playoffs in protest of the shooting of yet another Black individual, it made headlines not only in sports but also in politics.
When asked about it, President Donald Trump gave his take on the boycott and league itself.
Asked for his thoughts on NBA players going on strike following yet another police shooting of a black man, Trump says, "I don't know much about the NBA protest. I know their ratings have been very bad." pic.twitter.com/p0OYa1dFrO
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 27, 2020
“I don’t know much about the NBA protest,” said the commander in chief. “I know their ratings have been very bad because I think people are a little tired of the NBA frankly, but I don’t know too much about the protests. But I know their ratings have been very bad, and that’s unfortunate. They’ve become like a political organization, and that’s not a good thing. I don’t think that’s a good thing for sports or for the country.”
Trump has a point in the sense that the NBA is perhaps the most politically active major sports league in America.
The league has gotten more politically active in the last several years, as more and more unjust murders of African-Americans by law enforcement have been publicized.
Although NBA ratings have been down in recent years, it’s hard to definitively say that it’s directly correlated to its players becoming increasingly political.
The former real estate mogul has a history of calling out athletes who take a stand on social issues, particularly Black athletes.
In 2017, he criticized former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players for taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem prior to games as a silent protest against racial injustice.