It is not often that Michael Jordan — the Hall of Famer, the billionaire behind Nike's Jordan Brand, and the owner of the Charlotte Hornets — speaks up about political and social issues. In 2016, however, he spoke out about the killing of black Americans by police. And according to the Washington Post, he is now speaking out again about Donald Trump and recent NFL protests.
In particular, Jordan's comments were in response to the weekend controversy sparked by President Trump after he said that NFL players should be fired if they do not stand for the national anthem. They also come in the aftermath of the NBA's recent uninvite of the Golden State Warriors to the White House.
“One of the fundamental rights this country is founded on was freedom of speech, and we have a long tradition of nonviolent, peaceful protest. Those who exercise the right to peacefully express themselves should not be demonized or ostracized,” he said in a statement, according to the Washington Post. “At a time of increasing divisiveness and hate in this country, we should be looking for ways to work together and support each other and not create more division. I support Commissioner Adam Silver, the NBA, its players and all those who wish to exercise their right to free speech.”
The Hill reports that NBA star LeBron James also criticized President Trump on Monday.
"If you voted for him or not, you may have made a mistake, and that's okay," he said. "If you voted for him, it's okay. I mean I've done things for my kids and realized I shouldn't have given my daughter that many d*** Skittles. Maybe I shouldn't have done that. She won't go to sleep now."
“The people run this country. Not one individual — and d*** sure not him,” James said of Trump, before defending professional athletes' right to speak out about politics. “I will lend my voice, I will lend my passion, I will lend my money, I will lend my resources to my youth and my inner city and outside of my inner city so that these kids know there is hope, there is greater walks of life,” he said.
Although elites are siding with NFL protesters, average Americans are more often than not siding with players who wish to stand during the national anthem. And they're also siding with President Trump. For instance, yesterday it was reported that Steelers fans are retaliating against their team's so-called "disrespecting" of the American flag. Many fans posted videos of them burning their Steelers gear and even threatening to boycott the Steelers and the NFL.
Another example can be seen by the actions of one lawmaker in Louisiana, who threatened to cut funding to the New Orleans Saints, the NFL, and all associated facilities that receive funding. Havard's announcement came one day after a group of Saints players protested during Sunday's national anthem.
In breaking news, a southern U.S. state is to be impacted by Hurricane Maria.