Four times Trump and sports have clashed


President Trump took his feud with the sports world to new heights on Saturday, when he doubled down on his criticism of NFL players who protest the national anthem during sporting events and revoked an NBA player’s invitation to visit the White house.

In tweets posted throughout the day, Trump chided athletes who “disrespect” the United States and withdrew Kansas City Warriors player Stephen Curry’s invitation to the White House after the point guard said he had decided not to go. 

Those tweets followed up on the president’s comments a day earlier, when he said at a campaign rally in Alabama that NFL teams should fire players who take a knee during the national anthem. {mosads}

“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 is fired,’ ” he said.

It wasn’t the first time Trump has been at loggerheads with the sports world. 

Here’s a look at four other times Trump has butted heads with the industry:

New England Patriots players decline to visit White House

It’s customary for Super Bowl champions to pay a visit to the White House. But the Patriots’ appearance this year became fraught with controversy when several team members declined their invitations.

Some passed up the opportunity for nonpolitical reasons. Quarterback Tom Brady, for example, cited “personal family matters” — his mother has been battling cancer.

But others, like defensive back Devin McCourty, declined the invitation on political grounds. McCourty said he had decided not to visit the executive mansion because the president’s “opinions and prejudices” would make him feel unwelcome. 

“Basic reason for me is I don’t feel accepted in the White House,” McCourt told Time in February. “With the president having so many strong opinions and prejudices I believe certain people might feel accepted there while others won’t.”

Despite the absence of some players, 34 attended the event, and Trump reportedly received a commemorative Super Bowl ring after the visit. 

Trump’s ongoing feud with Colin Kaepernick

Kaepernick stirred controversy last year when he began taking a knee during the national anthem at football games in protest of police brutality and racial injustice — and Trump hasn’t hesitated to push back.

In August 2016, shortly after accepting the Republican presidential nomination, Trump challenged the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback to “find a country that works better for him.”

Months later, after he had taken office, the president revived in his criticism of Kaepernick, suggesting that he had become a free agent because no NFL team wanted to sign him in the wake of his on-field protests.

That feud reared its head again Friday night, during a campaign rally in Huntsville, Ala., where the president called on supporters to walk out of NFL games when players kneel during the national anthem and argued that teams should fire players who do so. 

“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 is fired,’ ” he said.

Kaepernick has hit back at the president in the past as well. He called both Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton “embarrassing” choices for president after the first presidential debate last year.

The NFL player also hit at Trump’s budget proposal earlier this year by donating $50,000 to Meals on Wheels, a program Trump proposed eliminating. 

Trump clashes with ESPN

The White House called on the sports network to fire anchor Jemele Hill earlier this month after she accused Trump on Twitter of being a white supremacist. 

“That is one of the more outrageous comments that anybody could make and certainly is something that is a fireable offense by ESPN,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders at a Sept. 13 press briefing.

Hill had stirred controversy with a series of tweets taking aim at the president for playing into and propagating racist sentiments, contending that he is a “direct result of white supremacy.”

Trump himself later demanded that ESPN apologize for Hill’s tweets, and claimed that its politics “and programming” were responsible for dwindling ratings.

Golden State Warriors cancel White House visit

After Trump tweeted on Saturday that Warriors point guard Stephen Curry was no longer invited to the White House along with the rest of his teammates, the Warriors announced that they would forego the visit altogether and spend their time in Washington celebrating “equality, diversity and inclusion.”

Curry had said on Friday that he had decided not to visit the White House. 

“By not going, hopefully it will inspire some change for what we tolerate in this country and what we stand for, what is accepted and what we turn a blind eye toward,” he said.

Tags Donald Trump ESPN Golden State Warriors Hillary Clinton New England Patriots San Francisco 49ers

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