LeBron James on Donald Trump: ‘He’s Used Sports to Divide Us’

Don Lemon, Lebron James

YouTube/CNN Don Lemon Lebron James interview CNN

In the CNN interview with LeBron James conducted by Don Lemon, which aired earlier this week and was re-broadcast Friday night, led Pres. Donald Trump to not only watch the segment on the network he calls fake news, but later tweet that both men, highly successful African-American men tops in their respective fields, are unintelligent.

In the interview, James said Trump is using sports to further divide the nation.

At issue is, in part, the Trump move to instigate and ignite the debate over kneeling during the national anthem by athletes, NFL players in particular, beginning with Colin Kaepernick who took a knee and thereby a stand which cost him his NFL career as he was shunned. Athletes, and even some team owners, have said it’s not about being against the anthem, it’s a matter of free speech to protest a rising openly and demonstrably racist climate nationally from law enforcement excessive force in communities of color to white citizens calling armed police on black people in places where they’re not wanted or expected, doing things like barbecuing or selling water or eating lunch on a college campus as a student and teaching assistant to public racist tirades.

Using sports, James said, to “kinda divide us,” is damaging.

“I know that sport was the first time I was around someone white,” James said, adding white and black team mates leaned about one another and “we became very good friends.” James said that “sports has never been something to divide people it’s always been something to bring people together.” His position is Trump’s statements, rhetoric and policy promotion has unleashed what was previously covert and now is frequently overt, racism. And by using sports, a place where a stadium packed with tens of thousands is divided only by team versus team, to “divide” is troubling.

The Wall Street Journal reported in May that Pres. Donald Trump told Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones he wouldn’t back off hammering NFL players who were taking a knee during the anthem to “protest social injustice.”

“This is a very winning, strong issue for me. Tell everybody, you can’t win this one. This one lifts me.”

After months of pressure, taunting tweets, and meetings with NFL honchos, Trump got his way. Sort of. NFL.com reported on the National anthem policy on May 23.

“The NFL will enact a national anthem policy for 2018 that requires players and league personnel on the sideline to stand but gives them the option to remain in the locker room if they don’t want to stand, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced Wednesday.

Under the change approved by team owners at the Spring League Meeting, individual clubs will have the power to set their own policies to ensure the anthem is being respected during any on-field action. If a player chooses to protest on the sideline, the NFL will fine the team. The player also could be fined by his team, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network’s Judy Battista reported.

Goodell said the six changes under the policy were unanimously approved by team owners who voted. San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York said he abstained from voting, in part, due to the lack of player involvement in the decision process.”

On ‘Fox & Friends,’ Trump praised the NFL decision and doubled-down saying in part, “…I think its good. You have to stand proudly. for the national anthem or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there, maybe you shouldn’t be it the country…”


James in his CNN interview said “…for (Trump) to use sports to divide us, I can’t sit back and not say nothing,” James said.

Twitter has been saying something:

And turning to Instagram where Pres. Barack Obama’s official White House photographer Pete Souza posted an image he took of Obama and LeBron James on the court all smiles, stole the day, and the win, some say.