JJ Redick: Nobody in NBA cares if Donald Trump watches basketball
The NBA resumed its delayed 2019-20 season in the Orlando, Fla., bubble on Thursday night with a doubleheader during which all four teams kneeled during the national anthem to protest systemic racism and social injustice.
The @PelicansNBA & @utahjazz kneel for the National Anthem ahead of the NBA restart. pic.twitter.com/TCFolP06HM— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) July 30, 2020
The @Lakers and @LAClippers kneel during the National Anthem. pic.twitter.com/A0OdsXNKm3— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) July 31, 2020
NBA players, coaches and referees took a knee during last night's national anthems. pic.twitter.com/qdL02CkzlB— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) July 31, 2020
The act of solidarity displayed by the New Orleans Pelicans, Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers in support of the burgeoning Black Lives Matter movement surely irked Donald Trump in light of his vehement opposition to such acts of peaceful protest.
One NBA player who participated, however, argues no one in the league cares about what the President thinks, much less whether nor not he watches.
New Orleans Pelicans guard JJ Redick took part in the pregame moment ahead the team’s opening game against the Utah Jazz. After the game, Redick expressed his opinion on what the NBA as a whole thinks about Trump’s disapproval of kneeling during the anthem.
“First of all, I don’t think anybody in the NBA cares if President Trump watches basketball. I couldn’t care less,” Redick told Yahoo Sports. “As far as his base, I think regardless of the specificity of tweeting about the NBA, every tweet of his is meant to divide, every tweet is meant to incite, every tweet is meant to embolden his base. So [last week] was no different.”
Last week, Trump fired off a tweet presumably in response to some members of the San Francisco Giants taking a knee during the anthem in their season-opening game. In the tweet, Trump threatened to turn off any game in which players kneel during the anthem.
Looking forward to live sports, but any time I witness a player kneeling during the National Anthem, a sign of great disrespect for our Country and our Flag, the game is over for me!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 21, 2020
Trump’s derision notwithstanding, NBA players have the full support of the league when it comes to kneeling during the anthem or other associated display of activism during the restart at the Walt Disney World Resort’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s affirms as much.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver on both teams kneeling tonight:— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) July 30, 2020
“I respect our teams’ unified act of peaceful protest for social justice and under these unique circumstances will not enforce our long-standing rule requiring standing during the playing of our national anthem.”
The White House issued a statement last week celebrating the long-awaited return of sports, but it’s safe to assume that Trump intends to continue being the polarizing presence in the sports world he has been throughout his presidency. Given Redick’s comments, it just sounds like not a lot of players are likely paying attention.