President Donald Trump announced Thursday that he thinks it’s time for NBA players to end their political protesting, saying Americans are getting “tired” of it.
“I don’t know much about the NBA protests,” Trump told reporters, according to Breitbart. “I know their ratings have been very bad, because I think people are a little tired of the NBA frankly.”
According to Fox News, teams like the Houston Rockets, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Portland Trail Blazers all refused to play in Wednesday night’s NBA playoff games to protest police brutality in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.
Protests in Kenosha
Blake, who is Black, was shot seven times by a white police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday after resisting arrest and reaching into his car, where a knife was later found, according to USA Today. The 29-year-old is in the hospital and is paralyzed from the shooting, USA Today reports, though it remains unclear if his condition is permanent.
The incident drew widespread criticism after video of it went viral online. In Kenosha, the public has responded with violent protests that have featured looting, a shooting that killed two people, and vehicles being set on fire, USA Today reported.
Players with the NHL and MLB have also gone on strike in response to Blake’s shooting, according to The Washington Post.
“Not a good thing”
As for the NBA, Lakers superstar LeBron James has led the league in protesting. “WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT,” James tweeted Wednesday, according to Fox.
Trump, however, says the move is far from “a good thing for sports the country.
“They’ve become like a political organization, and that’s not a good thing,” Trump said of the NBA, as Breitbart reported. “I don’t think that’s a good thing for sports or the country.”
Words into actions
Meanwhile, presidential adviser and son-in-law to Trump Jared Kushner said Thursday that those in the NBA are “fortunate” to be able to afford to strike, but should put their words into “actual action.”
“I think the NBA players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they’re able to take a night off from work without having to have the consequences to themselves financially. So, they have that luxury, which is great,” he said, according to HuffPost.
Kushner added: “With the NBA, there’s a lot of activism and I think that they put a lot of slogans out, but I think that we need to turn that from slogans and signals to actual action that’s [going to] solve the problem.”