LeBron James spoke his mind at the Cleveland Cavaliers’ media day on Monday, covering topics including the widespread protests seen during Sunday’s NFL games and his critiques of President Trump.
When asked to comment on the demonstrations players across the NFL on Sunday, James said “I salute the NFL, players, owners and the fans… There was solidarity, there was no divide. Even from that guy who tries to divide us.”
James repeatedly referred to the president as “that guy,” adding, “My job and my calling is much bigger than that guy. I don’t even like saying his name.”
James also spoke to the power of sport to bring different people together, and expressed his frustrations with the president for attempting to use sports as a tool to divide.
It’s so amazing what sports can do for everyone. No matter the shape or size or race or ethnicity or religion — people find teams, people find players, people find colours because of sport, and they gravitate towards that and it makes them so happy. And it brings people together like none other. And we’re not gonna let — I’m not gonna let, while I have this platform — one individual, no matter the power, no matter the impact that he or she should have, ever use sport as a platform to divide us.
As for his role at the interaction of politics and sports, James said “My voice and what I do in my community is more powerful than getting on a knee… It’s not about the disrespect of the flag and our military, it’s about equality and the freedom to speak about things they feel are unjust.”
At one point, James went as far as to say that Trump voters may have made a mistake.
“No matter if you voted for him or not — and you may have made a mistake, and that’s ok,” James said. “If you voted for him that’s ok, I mean I’ve done things for my kids and realised maybe I shouldn’t have given her so many damn Skittles.”
When asked if he regretted calling Trump a “bum” on Twitter, James said simply “No,” and laughed about Trump disinviting the Warriors to the White House after Stephen Curry had repeatedly said he was uninterested in going.
He went on to criticise Trump for not appreciating the impact of his position in the Oval Office, saying “He doesn’t understand how many kids, no matter their race, look up to the President of the United States for guidance, for leadership, for words of encouragement.”
As he finished up his thoughts on the issue, James relayed his faith in the country and its people, while also offering one final rebuke of the president.
“We know this is the greatest country in the world, it’s the land of the free,” James said. “But we still have problems like everybody else. And when we have those problems, we have to figure out a way to come together and be as great as we can be as a people. Because the people run this country. Not one individual. And damn sure not him.”
You can watch an excerpt of James’ comments below.
LeBron James: "The people run this country. Not one individual. And damn sure not him." pic.twitter.com/b82ojpXkZt
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 25, 2017
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