President Donald Trump has withdrawn an invitation for two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors to attend a championship celebration at the White House.
It was not clear if Trump was rescinding an invitation for Curry or the entire Golden State team, which won the NBA championship in June. But it did not matter to the Warriors, who now say they will not attend even if invited.
Championship teams have typically celebrated at the White House with the president, most recently the Patriots after winning Super Bowl LI in February. Some Warriors have been outspoken about not wanting to attend if they were invited.
“I don’t respect who’s in office right now,’ NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant said last month.
NBA superstar LeBron James took that comment to another level with this tweet Saturday.
On Friday night, Trump also had harsh words for the NFL. He criticized players who lodge protests during the pregame national anthem, saying that he wished those players would be ‘fired’. He also encouraged fans who are offended to walk out of stadiums.
Speaking at a political rally in Huntsville, Alabama, Trump said: "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a b---- off the field right now. Out. He's fired! He's fired!'"
The NFL responded Saturday with a statement from commissioner Roger Goodell.
"The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture. There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we've experienced over the last month. Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities," the statement said.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank condemned Trump’s remarks. “Creating division or demonizing viewpoints that are different than our own accomplishes nothing positive and undermines our collective ability to achieve the ideals of our democracy,” Blank said.
One former NFL player, ex-tight end Owen Daniels, suggested that every player in the NFL should take a knee during the national anthem on Sunday and Monday.