President Trump has picked fights with two of the nation’s most popular professional sports leagues, setting off a Twitter war with top athletes who were quick to fight back in an extraordinary display of political trash-talking with thinly veiled racial undertones.
Even National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell jumped into the fray Saturday, criticizing Trump for “divisive comments” as some players responded on social media with much harsher language.
The battle began Friday night, when Trump publicly criticized African American football players, following an example set last season by quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who have been kneeling during the national anthem to protest the nation’s racial disparities.
Trump urged NFL owners to fire the players and encouraged fans to walk out of games in their own protest.
“That’s a total disrespect of our heritage. That’s a total disrespect of everything that we stand for,” Trump told a rally Friday in Alabama, where he was campaigning for Republican Sen. Luther Strange.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ‘Get … off the field right now. Out! He’s fired,” Trump said to loud applause.
Trump followed that up Saturday morning by taking to Twitter to apparently withdraw his invitation to the National Basketball Assn. champion Golden State Warriors to visit the White House, singling out the team’s star, Stephen Curry, for “hesitating” about accepting the offer.
Trump’s move appeared preemptory, as the team was expected to vote to decline the traditional White House offer
Article source: http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-sports-fight-20170923-story.html