Kobe Bryant: Trump’s name ‘inspires division and hatred’

NFL and NBA athletes have expressed their displeasure with President Donald Trump this weekend after he criticized football players for kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality against black people and tweeted that a star basketball player was no longer invited to the White House.

Among those who weighed in on Trump’s remarks was five-time NBA champion, Kobe Bryant.

“A #POTUS whose name alone creates division and anger. Whose words inspire dissension and hatred can’t possibly ‘Make America Great Again,'” Bryant said in a tweet on Saturday.

The former Los Angeles Laker, who spent 20 years in the NBA, joined a growing chorus of professional athletes unhappy with Trump’s comments during a rally in Alabama on Friday and his tweet saying Steph Curry was no longer invited to visit the White House with his NBA Finals-winning Golden State Warriors teammates.

During the Friday night rally, Trump appeared to call former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has yet to find a new team after he began protesting police brutality by taking a knee during the national anthem before games, a “son of a bitch.” He criticized the players’ rights as citizens to protest.

“‘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. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’” Trump said.

Then, after Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry said in an interview that he had concerns over whether he would participate in the customary White House visit due to Trump’s policies, Trump tweeted that Curry was disinvited (though the White House had yet to extend a formal invitation to the championship Warriors team).

“That we don’t stand for basically what our President has – the things that he’s said and the things that he hasn’t said in the right times, that we won’t stand for it,” Curry had said. “And by acting and not going, hopefully that will inspire some change when it comes to what we tolerate in this country and what is accepted and what we turn a blind eye to. It’s not just the act of not going there. There are things you have to do on the back end to actually push that message into motion.”

Naturally, both comments drew sharp condemnation from athletes in both sports.