Trump talks White House invites for uninterested athletes
Trump says he will not invite Lebron James to the White House. | AP

Donald J. Trump wants to personally meet with NFL players and other athletes who protest racism and police brutality during the national anthem by taking a knee, to discuss possible solutions to our current unfair justice system.

Go ahead, read that first sentence again, then let it sink in.

This president who has taken a personal vendetta against all athletes who protest during the national anthem, calling them “sons of bitches” who don’t belong in this country, now wants to sit down with those activist athletes so they can recommend people they believe should be pardoned.

“I’m going to ask them to recommend to me people who were unfairly treated,” said Trump at the White House Friday. “You have a lot of people in the NFL in particular, but in sports leagues, they’re not proud enough to stand for our National Anthem. I don’t like that.”

While he hailed the NFL’s new anthem policy last week, today he takes issue with players having the option to stay in the locker room when the “Star Spangled Banner” plays.

He disinvites the Eagles because the team “disagrees with their president” and will likely be subpoenaed next week by Kaepernick’s legal team to compel testimony about his role in the blacklist of the former San Francisco 49’ers, as the collusion grievance filed against the NFL starts winding down.

And his brilliant plan to end all the controversy goes like this: “I’m going to say to them instead of talk…I am going to ask all of those people to recommend to me—because that’s what they’re protesting—people that they think were unfairly treated by the justice system…I understand that.”

Those people, huh?

You mean African-Americans protesting systemic racism, economic plight, and state sanctioned murder?

“If the athletes have friends of theirs or people they know about that have been unfairly treated by the system, let me know,” he added.

What a piece of shit. There I said it.

Clearly Trump doesn’t get it. If he did he wouldn’t pal around with white nationalists, call them “some very fine people” after causing death and destruction in Charlottesville; lash out at undocumented immigrants by branding them “animals;” see women as more than body parts he could grab, “because when you’re rich women will let you do whatever you want to them.”

This is not Trump’s “light bulb” moment. This is not a change in tone or new direction the White House will be taking—though I’m sure Fox “news” will play it up, lavish praise at such a benevolent president, and show how deserving he is of the Nobel prize.

This is just Trump being the scummy businessman that he is. If you can’t beat em’, bribe em.’

Let’s go back to this quote: “If the athletes have friends of theirs or people they know about that have been unfairly treated by the system, let me know.”

No mention of law enforcement reform, providing more funds for social justice initiatives, or investments in community outreach services.

My guess as to Trump’s goal: Do the players a favor by pardoning people close to them, while only asking for protest silence in return—he would have the upper hand then, and the power to rescind the pardon.

It’s a well-timed dog and pony show as he attempts a quick recovery from the “Celebration of America” mess.

Along with this announcement, Trump made it clear that NBA stars LeBron James and Stephen Curry, or their teams, the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, would not be asked to visit the White House after the playoffs.

“I didn’t invite Lebron James and I didn’t invite Steph Curry. We’re not going to invite either team, but we have other teams that are coming,” said Trump.

At separate press conferences, both James and Curry made it clear at that they would not be visiting the White House if invited.

“You know, it’s a lot of things that we believe in as Americans that we don’t feel that he’s for,” James said. “It’s a lot of people that believe that he’s not for the people or doing things that’s right by the people.”

In his usual arrogant fashion, Trump went on to brag about his friendship with New England Patriots’ Robert Kraft, and how much he enjoyed hosting the Patriots at the White House.

“My attitude, if they want to be here, it’s the greatest place on Earth, I’m here,”said Trump. “If they don’t want to be here, I don’t want them.”

Such a fitting statement for a president “who gets it,” right?


Al Neal
Al Neal

Award winning journalist Al Neal is PW associate editor for labor and politics. He is also the chief photographer for People's World. He is a member of the Chicago News Guild, Society of Professional Journalists, Professional Photographers of America, National Sports Media Association, and The Ernest Brooks Foundation.