LeBron James has some thoughts about Trump's attempts to 'divide' people through sports

Jason Miller/Getty ImagesLeBron James addresses the media after the opening ceremonies of the I Promise School on July 30, 2018 in Akron, Ohio.
  • LeBron James says he believes President Donald Trump tries to use sports to “divide” people and said “I would never sit across from him,” if asked.
  • James sat with CNN’s Don Lemon for an interview that aired Monday night, during which he talked about his philanthropy, social issues, and politics – including the racial climate in the US under Trump.
  • Asked what he would say to Trump if he had an audience with the president, James said “I would never sit across from him.”

LeBron James has some thoughts about the racial climate in the US under President Donald Trump. The NBA all-star and four-time MVP gave a wide-ranging interview to CNN’s Don Lemon that aired Monday night, during which he talked about Trump’s rhetoric toward professional athletes of colour.

“What I’ve noticed over the last few months, he’s kinda used sports to divide us, and that’s something I can’t relate to,” James said, referring to Trump’s tendency to lash out at athletes who communicate their views on politics through word and action.

Colin Kaepernick, a former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, has been at the forefront of that practice by kneeling on the field during the national anthem, a silent protest against police brutality and civil injustice.

Other athletes have used their platforms to reject discriminatory rhetoric from Trump and his administration.

The Golden State Warriors are another example. The team preemptively declared they would not accept an invitation to the White House after they won the NBA championship last fall, a move that prompted Trump to lash out on Twitter.

Trump has attempted to flip the narrative on the athletes’ demonstrations and frame them as an insult to patriotism and US service members, seemingly ignoring that the act of protest is protected by the US Constitution’s First Amendment, and is, by itself, patriotic.

During his CNN interview, James said “I can’t sit back and say nothing” in the face of the president’s scapegoating.

On Monday, James took part in the grand opening of the I Promise School in Akron, Ohio. The public school, in which James is a stakeholder through the Lebron James Family Foundation, serves 240 third and fourth-grade students, and will expand to grades one through eight by 2022.

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