Trump rally crowd chants ‘LeBron James sucks’
President Trump appeared to segue from politics to sports on Monday as he embarked on a sprint of rallies the day before Election Day.
While at a rally in Pennsylvania, a state that is crucial to winning the 2020 presidential election, Trump began speaking about basketball, USA Today reported.
“How about LeBron? I felt badly for LeBron, very badly. Down 71 percent, and that’s with the championship,” Trump said. “I didn’t watch one shot. I get bored. Back, forth, back, forth. You know why? When they don’t respect our country, when they don’t respect our flag, nobody wants to watch.”
“LeBron James sucks!” chants at the Trump rally pic.twitter.com/XbSZrhn961
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 2, 2020
The president likely was referring to the silent protest against police brutality that professional athletes have adopted in recent years where they kneel during the national anthem. When the NBA season began in July, after the high-profile deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, players were allowed to wear jerseys that replaced their names with slogans in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Phrases they were allowed to wear included “Black Lives Matter,” “I Can’t Breathe” and “Say Their Name.”
As USA Today noted, James led the Los Angeles Lakers to their 17th championship in October. Trump referred to James as “the most recognizable player in the NBA.”
“You gotta stand for our flag. You gotta really be great to our flag and do our anthem. And if you don’t do that, we don’t want you,” said Trump while the crowd began chanting, “LeBron James sucks.”
“What a crowd,” Trump responded.
James has not endorsed either presidential candidate this year, USA Today noted, but he has worked to increase voter turnout through his organization More Than a Vote.
The Tampa Bay Times reported on Monday that James and other celebrities had donated enough money to the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition to restore the voting rights of almost 13,000 felons.
The analysis was conducted by the Tampa Bay Times, the Miami Herald and ProPublica, and the newspaper noted in its report that this move likely would help Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s campaign, as many of those who benefited were Democrats.
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