LeBron James: Trump’s Muslim Ban ‘does not represent’ American values

Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year Ceremony 2016

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m actually trying to branch out and write about athletes-as-celebrities and sports gossip more often these days. It mostly because I’ve started paying more attention to sports and sports gossip in general, but it also feels like athletes are venturing more and more into Hollywood and politics and reality shows and more. Anyway, this story is about two of the greatest NBA players around, both of whom spoke out about Donald Trump this week. First up: LeBron James. LeBron is not a fan of Baby Fists. LeBron slammed Trump’s “locker room talk” and LeBron endorsed Hillary Clinton in writing and in person, at a rally in Ohio. Post-election, LeBron wore a safety pin on the cover of his SI Sportsman of the Year issue. LeBron promised that he was going to be more engaged politically. And so it’s unsurprising that he’s continuing to use his platform to stand with disenfranchised people.

“Diversity is what makes this country so great,” says LeBron James, who was raised by a single mother in an Akron housing project. “We should all continue to speak up and fight for ideas that bring people together regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, religious beliefs or any other differences.” The NBA is a global league; every team has at least one international player, with more than 35 countries represented and many Muslim-American players. And the league has been comparatively outspoken on social issues, initiating in December 2015 a campaign against gun violence. “It’s important that we as athletes continue to use the platform we have to speak up for what we believe in,” says James.

As protests continue to rage over President Trump’s ban on immigrants and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries, James has calibrated his message to encourage peaceful dissent through free speech. “I am not in favor of this policy or any policy that divides and excludes people,” he says. “I stand with the many, many Americans who believe this does not represent what the United States is all about. And we should continue to speak out about it.”

[From The Hollywood Reporter]

It may seem like “who cares what basketball players say?” but the players have a lot of influence and they’ve wielded that influence really well over the past few years, for LGBTQ rights, for Black Lives Matter and more. It absolutely matters that LeBron is using his platform to speak about this. And I applaud him.

Meanwhile, Steph Curry (SF Warriors) is in the middle of an endorsement issue which has turned political. One of Curry’s biggest endorsements is for Under Armour. Under Armour’s CEO Kevin Plank recently said that Donald Trump’s presidency will be an “asset” to businesses. When Curry was asked about Plank’s comments, Curry said: “I agree with that description, if you remove the ‘et.’” Curry isn’t stepping away from Under Armour though, so I don’t know what to say. Curry endorsed Hillary Clinton too, and the Warriors coach, Steve Kerr, seems to dislike Baby Fists immensely.

Nickelodeon’s Kids’s Choice Sports 2016 - Arrivals

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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32 Responses to “LeBron James: Trump’s Muslim Ban ‘does not represent’ American values”

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  1. Snowflake says:

    Love how they are speaking out! Kiss

  2. DavidBowie says:

    The San Antonio Spurs’ coach, Greg Poppovich, has been VERY vocal about his dislike for Trump and his policies. SAS has always had a very diverse roster and the EO banning immigrants goes directly against everything their organization stands for.

  3. Daisy says:

    What are American values? From slavery, trough the treatment od Japanese Americans in WW2 to segregation, the US has been pretty consistent in the way it treated people who are not WASP. It’s not like this ban is so out od character.

    • Radley says:

      Why cherry pick the worst examples? America is not all bad and not all good. America is a work in progress and there’s absolutely no denying that America has made progress. In fact, to deny that is to erase the hard work and sacrifice that so many have made to make America better. And that’s especially tone deaf during black history month.

  4. Miss Grace Jones says:

    Unfortunately looking at the history of this country, and the history of violent racism including how bans on entire races and religions, this ban is very much part of American values. There have been bans on Chinese and thosw of ‘Mohammedian’ descent before. There have long been institutional restrictions and racism in allowing people from countries with a high volume of poor and brown people from being allowed to receive visas or immigrate here. None of this is new.

  5. dodgy says:

    Damn it, my favourite football (European) team wears UA (although they’re being replaced by Nike next year) and I have one of their away shirts. At least their engagement with UA ends this season.

  6. The Old KC says:

    I, for one, love sports, so I hope Celebitchy will continue to cover sports figures. Stephen Curry’s story is absolutely phenomenal. My husband came home one day raving about Curry, and showed me a YouTube video about Curry’s career (he was devoted to basketball in spite of being “vertically challenged” until he, astonishingly, hit a late growth spurt and grew something like 6 inches in one summer). I can’t find the video offhand but you can search it up on YouTube. The thing I love about sports is the psychology at work in people who absolutely refuse to quit. I believe there are so many life lessons in athletics, and that’s why I’ll always be a fan and follower. Although, I do also believe teachers should be paid better than they are and athletes should be paid a little (in some cases, a lot) less. But, aside from that, more sports please – thanks!

  7. LondonLozza says:

    To be fair to Steph Curry, he also said that if it looked like the companies values were becoming misaligned with his he would reconsider:

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2692044-stephen-curry-responds-to-under-armour-ceo-kevin-planks-support-of-donald-trump

    “If there is a situation where I can look at myself in the mirror and say they don’t have my best intentions, they don’t have the right attitude about taking care of people,” Curry said. “If I can say the leadership is not in line with my core values, then there is no amount of money, there is no platform I wouldn’t jump off if it wasn’t in line with who I am. So that’s a decision I will make every single day when I wake up. If something is not in line with what I’m about, then, yeah, I definitely need to take a stance in that respect.”

    I currently live an hour from the States, and am on a self imposed ban from visiting while Cheetos Baby Fists is in charge (which is a crying shame as I got married there and find most Americans I come across to be lovely) and am now reconsidering where I buy my clothes from: Nordstrom = big fat yes … Under Armour = possibly not.

  8. eggyweggs says:

    I am FURIOUS about a lot of things, but the Under Armour thing has really gotten under my skin for selfish reasons. Under Armour owns My Fitness Pal. I LOVE MFP and, as of today, I have a 425-day login streak. Now I have to delete it because of the Under Armour CEO calling 45 an “asset.” This is some bulls—. Anyone got recommendations for comparable apps?

    Also, big props to LeBron et al. I’m starting to learn some sports guys’ names because of it!

  9. oldblindjohn says:

    Does a devout muslim represent American values?

  10. Lilly says:

    Go LeBron and I also admire Stephen for putting some thought into his response and decision. Ditto keeping sports figures on Celebitchy.

  11. Stacy says:

    Steve Kerr was born in Beirut, Lebanon. His grandparents were Americans who met rescuing women and children after the Armenian Genocide. His father was an Academic who specialized in the Middle East and eventually became the President of the American University of Beirut. Steve went to school in Egypt and Lebanon as well as California. When Steve was 18, his father was shot and killed outside his office in a terrorist attack. I can’t imagine there is an American in sports better equipped to talk about the Muslim ban than Steve Kerr.

  12. karen says:

    meh, get money. if you can both fulfill your professional obligations, and speak out to correct horrible statements given by the ceo, why not do both? breaking contracts is not simple or free from future problems

  13. Lyla says:

    Under armor’s CEO said that?! Ugh. Well, good thing I don’t own anything from under armor.

  14. Locke Lamora says:

    Speaking of athletes, if anyone is interested, the footballer Dejan Lovren spoke about his experiences as a refugee and supported current refugees

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yJuk7BYTQQ

  15. Elle R. says:

    LeBron James is up there with Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson as far as public figures I admire and would be crushed to discover are secretly horrible.

    LeBron is more articulate, thoughtful, and informed than a lot of people who went to college and grew up with every opportunity. You want to talk about the best of America and its potential when we give all kids an equal shot at life: LeBron is a pretty great example of that, and it’s a shame he might not have had so many of these opportunities if not for his athletic skill.