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LeBron James: President Trump Is "Trying To Use Sports To Divide Us" (Video)

130 NFL stars kneel during anthem in defiance of Trump: Hundreds more including Brady link arms in solidarity as the President says 'disrespectful' players should be FIRED and calls for boycott

Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James addressed President Donald Trump's comments on sports and protests on Monday, talking extensively about the issue and the NFL's response but never using the president's name.

"First of all, I salute the NFL, the coaches, the players, the owners, the fans. Everyone who had any association with the NFL was unbelievable," James said. "There was no divide. Even from that guy that continues to try to divide us as people.

"The thing that frustrated me, pissed me off: He was using the sports platform to divide us. Sports is so amazing, what sports can do for everyone, no matter shape, size, race. It brings people together like no other. I'm not going to let one individual, no matter the power, the impact he should have, ever use sport as a platform to divide us."

James expanded on the comments he made on social media over the weekend. On Saturday, after Trump tweeted that the Golden State Warriors were not welcome at the White House, James sent a tweet that called the president a "bum."

It has been retweeted more than 650,000 times -- more than any other tweet ever sent by James.

James said he did not regret the tweet and said that referring to someone as a bum was not what he would define as name-calling.

"If you voted for him, you may have made a mistake," James said. "Can we sit up here and say I'm trying to make a difference? I want the best for the American people no matter the skin color, the race. We know this is the greatest country in the world. We still have problems, just like everybody else. The people run this country, not one individual, damn sure not him.

"As I have this platform, I will lend my voice, my passion, my money to let these kids know there is hope, greater walks of life. No one individual can stop your dreams from being a reality."

James said he would continue to use his platform to inspire people.

"My calling is much bigger than this guy," James said. "I don't even like saying his name. While I have this platform, I will continue to inspire the state of Ohio not only by what I do on the floor but by putting 1,300 kids into school."

Asked whether he would take a knee during the national anthem, James said, "My voice is more important than my knee. What I say, I think it should hit home for a lot of people. I don't think I have to get on my knee to further my point.

"I support [Colin] Kaepernick for being as powerful as he was. Being the one, he had to fall on the sword, unfortunately. I wish I owned a NFL team. I'd sign him today."

James said one good thing that came out of the weekend was the conversation.

Other coaches and players were asked about the protests on Monday.

"I think ultimately, we as the Celtics organization support our guys and their right to take a stand and protest peacefully and promote positive change," Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. "We talk about trying to use, again, our platform to have positive discussion to talk about things like uniting. To talk all the time about, leaders unite and inspire people and misleaders divide.

"So ultimately, if we can be a team that uses that in a positive way, if we can be individuals that use that in a positive way, we can create a good message that unifies, you're doing your small part with the platform you're given."

New Celtics guard Kyrie Irving was asked if his thought the situation was getting worse.

"The hope is progression. The hope is progression," Irving said. "I think the beautiful thing is that people are starting to wake up."

"I think athletes have a tremendous opportunity, or I think sports is highly influential," Celtics forward Jaylen Brown said. "I think what's going on in football, with having the freedom to express their First Amendment right, I think that should be something that should be considered and understood.

"I think it's unconstitutional to ... tell them they don't have the right to speak on whatever they feel like their heart needs to be spoken on. That's what my take on it is. I think basketball and athletes have a tremendous opportunity with our platform to do something about it."

Charlotte Hornets All-Star point guard Kemba Walker, when asked about James' support of Stephen Curry, said, "It's a brotherhood. The NBA is a brotherhood. We've seen LeBron and Steph go at it in the Finals the last couple years, so it's cool to see [James' support].

"We're a brotherhood, this whole league."

"I think [the protests are] great because we're finally talking about what's important," said New York Knicks center Joakim Noah. "Obviously I have my beliefs. I put in a lot of work in the neighborhoods trying to help at-risk youth. I have my opinions, but I respect this country a lot. But we have to look at everything that's going on as a positive because we're finally talking about issues that are usually swept under the rug. Because somebody takes a knee, we're finally talking about what's important."

"I think the president brought a lot of this stuff on himself," said Toronto Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan, who is American but plays in Canada. "He brought it on himself. He brought it on us as a country. ... I feel no player is trying to disrespect anybody, no flag or anything like that, but we seem to be the ones who get all the disrespect from our so-called leader."

Knicks center Enes Kanter said that seeing the U.S. go through this tough time is "really breaking my heart.

"I just feel bad because when I look at America, when I was at a young age, it's about freedom of religion, freedom of speech, now all of these amazing people are going through this tough time and it's breaking my heart.

"I'm not from here, I'm from Turkey. But still going through this with these guys, I feel them because I'm going through the same things with my country too. It's tough but I'm praying for you guys."

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Trump called Kaepernick a ‘son of a b*tch’ during Alabama speech {VIDEO}
Scores of NFL stars kneel in defiance of Trump

  • NFL players used the national anthem to show their defiance to President Donald Trump's criticism on Sunday
  • At least 100 players across the country either knelt or sat during the anthem in protest 
  • Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars players were the first to take a knee in defiance in London on Sunday morning 
  • At least 20 Patriots players were spotted kneeling as Tom Brady linked arms with his teammates
  • Pittsburgh Steelers players were absent from the sideline and remained in the locker room during the anthem 
  • Trump had called for fans to boycott the NFL in a series of tweets early Sunday
  • He said fans should stop going to games until players stop 'disrespecting our flag and country'  
  • His two day rant targeting top professional athletes brought swift condemnation from league executives and star players alike on Saturday
  • Last week across the entire NFL, only four players knelt or sat, and two stood with their fists raised 

NFL players have defiantly reacted to President Donald Trump's criticism, with at least 100 players kneeling, sitting linking arms, giving black power salutes and not even showing up for the national anthem out of protest.
Players from both the Baltimore Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars were the first to protest by taking a knee ahead of their game at Wembley Stadium in London on Sunday morning. No players were kneeling during the playing of God Save The Queen - the British national anthem.
The defiance against Trump continued as games kicked off across the country with an unprecedented number of players kneeling and most teams in the early afternoon games locking arms in solidarity.
At least 20 Patriots players were spotted kneeling as Tom Brady linked arms with his teammates.
Pittsburgh Steelers players were absent from the sideline and remained in the locker room during the Star Spangled Banner. Alejandro Villanueva, who served three tours in Afghanistan, was the only Steelers' player to stand outside the tunnel for the anthem.
The protests from each team came in the wake of Trump's critical remarks toward players who don't stand for the anthem. Last week across the entire NFL, only four players knelt or sat, and two stood with their fists raised.

Baltimore Ravens players took a knee during the national anthem at Wembley in London on Sunday just hours after Donald Trump continued his growing feud with athletes 

Jacksonville Jaguars players were spotted kneeling during the U.S. national anthem before the match on Sunday

The defiance against Trump continued as games kicked off across the country with at least 20 Patriots players kneeling and many of their teammates, including Tom Brady, locking arms in unity in Houston, Texas

The defiance against Trump continued as games kicked off across the country with at least 20 Patriots players kneeling and many of their teammates, including Tom Brady, locking arms in unity in Houston, Texas

Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday afternoon after at least 100 players protested during the national anthem

Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday afternoon after at least 100 players protested during the national anthem

Players from the Seahawks and Titans remained in their locker rooms ahead of their game in Nashville on Sunday afternoon. The Seahawks walked onto the field arm in arm as members of the crowd booed. 

The President took to Twitter on Sunday afternoon following the protests, tweeting: 'Great solidarity for our National Anthem and for our Country. Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable. Bad ratings!' 

'Courageous Patriots have fought and died for our great American Flag - we MUST honor and respect it! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!' 

Trump had earlier denounced the kneeling protests by NFL players and rescinded a White House invitation for NBA champion Stephen Curry in a two day rant that targeted top professional athletes and brought swift condemnation from league executives and star players alike on Saturday.

Early Sunday morning, Trump continued his Twitter tirade and called for an NFL boycott.

'If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!' Trump tweeted.

'...NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back U.S.'

Jaguars owner Shad Khan joined his players on the field on Sunday in London and was spotted linking arms with them in a show of unity. Khan was among the owners who donated $1 million to Trump's inauguration.

'It was a privilege to stand on the sidelines with the Jacksonville Jaguars today for the playing of the U.S. national anthem at Wembley Stadium. I met with our team captains prior to the game to express my support for them, all NFL players and the league following the divisive and contentious remarks made by President Trump, and was honored to be arm in arm with them, their teammates and our coaches during our anthem,' Khan said, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. 

Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said he '100 percent' supported his players' decision to kneel.

'We recognize our players' influence. We respect their demonstration and support them 100 percent. All voices need to be heard. That's democracy in its highest form,' he said.  

The anthem singer at the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons game ended his performance of the Star Spangled Banner by kneeling and raising his fist in the air.

New Orleans Saints players sit on the bench ahead of their against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, North Carolina

New Orleans Saints players sit on the bench ahead of their against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, North Carolina

Several Indianapolis Colts' players took a knee ahead of their game against the Cleveland Browns

Several Indianapolis Colts' players took a knee ahead of their game against the Cleveland Browns

A handful of Miami Dolphins were spotted kneeling during the anthem while their remaining teammates locked arms in unity

A handful of Miami Dolphins were spotted kneeling during the anthem while their remaining teammates locked arms in unity

Pittsburgh Steelers players were absent from the sideline (above on the right) during the anthem and only ran out onto the field when it ended

Pittsburgh Steelers players were absent from the sideline (above on the right) during the anthem and only ran out onto the field when it ended

Players from the Seahawks and Titans remained in their locker rooms ahead of their game in Nashville on Sunday afternoon. The sideline was empty (above) while the anthem played

Players from the Seahawks and Titans remained in their locker rooms ahead of their game in Nashville on Sunday afternoon. The sideline was empty (above) while the anthem played

Ravens players took a knee on the Wembley turf after Trump said sportsmen who 'disrespect America' should be 'fired'

Ravens players took a knee on the Wembley turf after Trump said sportsmen who 'disrespect America' should be 'fired'

More than 20 Cleveland Browns' players took a knee ahead of the game against the Indianapolis Colts

More than 20 Cleveland Browns' players took a knee ahead of the game against the Indianapolis Colts

Philadelphia Eagles players and personnel stood by linked arms during the anthem before their game against the New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles players and personnel stood by linked arms during the anthem before their game against the New York Giants

Detroit Lions defensive end Armonty Bryant (97), defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson (91) and defensive end Cornelius Washington (90) take a knee alongside their teammates

Detroit Lions defensive end Armonty Bryant (97), defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson (91) and defensive end Cornelius Washington (90) take a knee alongside their teammates

The Houston Texans stand with their arms linked in solidarity ahead of the game against the Patriots

The Houston Texans stand with their arms linked in solidarity ahead of the game against the Patriots

Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin had earlier said his team would not be present on the field for the anthem prior to Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears.

'We're not going to play politics. We're football players, we're football coaches,' he told CBS Sports' Jamie Erdahl. 'We're not participating in the anthem today - not to be disrespectful to the anthem, but to remove ourselves from the circumstance. 

'People shouldn't have to choose. If a guy wants to go about his normal business and participate in the anthem, he shouldn't be forced to choose sides. If a guy feels the need to do something, he shouldn't be separated from his teammate who chooses not to.' 

A handfull of Miami Dolphins players were spotted wearing t-shirts that read '#IMWITHKAP' during pregame warm-ups in support of free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick.  

Trump's comments in a Friday night speech and a series of Saturday tweets drew sharp responses from some of the nation's top athletes, with LeBron James calling the president a 'bum.' 

Trump started by announcing that Curry, the immensely popular two-time MVP for the Golden State Warriors, would not be welcome at the White House for the commemorative visit traditionally made by championship teams after Curry indicated he didn't want to come. 

Later, Trump reiterated what he said at a rally in Alabama the previous night - that NFL players who kneel for the national anthem should be fired. Curry has since broken his silence, saying it was amazing how NBA players had rallied around each other. 

'That's what this is about,' Curry told the Washington Post. 'I commend and applaud everyone that's spoken up. That's what we are supposed to do. It's really important.'  

HOW EACH NFL TEAM PROTESTED AGAINST TRUMP: 

Pittsburgh Steelers: Stayed in their locker room until after the anthem.

Baltimore Ravens & Jacksonville Jaguars: Two dozen players took a knee, while remaining players and Jaguars owner Shad Khan remained locked arm-in-arm.

New Orleans Saints: More than a dozen players sat during the anthem.

Denver Broncos: More than half the team knelt during the anthem

Buffalo Bills: A handful of players either sat or knelt.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson knelt with the rest of the team locking arms.

Minnesota Vikings: The team locked arms during the anthem. While no Vikings were spotted taking a knee during the anthem, at least a dozen players sprinted into one end zone and took a knee with head bowed, before the crowd was asked to stand.

New England Patriots: At least 20 Patriots players were spotted kneeling as Tom Brady linked arms with his teammates.

Miami Dolphins: Players linked arms as a team, including owner Stephen Ross. Four players also took a knee. Several players also wore '#ImWithKap' T-shirts during warm-ups. 

 Philadelphia Eagles: Players locked arms with servicemen. Two players also raised their fists.

Atlanta Falcons: The entire team locked arms as two players took a knee.

Cleveland Browns: At least 20 players took a knee and all teammembers linked arms.

Chicago Bears: The Bears did not kneel but many did link arms.

Indianapolis Colts: Several players took a knee while the majority linked arms.

Houston Texans: Players linked arms alongside each other.

New York Jets: The players all linked arms.

Buffalo Bills: Several players knelt for the anthem, while others stood behind them with their hands on their shoulders.

Detroit Lions: Eight players took a knee in protest. The anthem singer took a knee after singing and raised his fist.

New York Giants: They linked arms but for the first time had players kneel during the anthem.

Trump retweeted a series of tweets regarding the NFL protests regarding the national anthem

Jaguars owner Shad Khan (above) joined his players on the field on Sunday and was spotted linking arms with them in a show of unity. He donated $1 million to Trump¿s inauguration

Jaguars owner Shad Khan (above) joined his players on the field on Sunday and was spotted linking arms with them in a show of unity. He donated $1 million to Trump's inauguration

Former player Ray Lewis took a knee alongside Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Mike Wallace (left) and inside linebacker C.J. Mosley (right) on Sunday. Lewis has previously spoken out against players kneeling during the anthem

Former player Ray Lewis took a knee alongside Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Mike Wallace (left) and inside linebacker C.J. Mosley (right) on Sunday. Lewis has previously spoken out against players kneeling during the anthem

Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi warms up before the game against the New York Jets wearing a t-shirt supporting free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick

Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi warms up before the game against the New York Jets wearing a t-shirt supporting free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick

Trump's comments in a Friday night speech in Alabama (pictured above) and a series of Saturday tweets drew sharp responses from some of the nation's top athletes 

Trump's comments in a Friday night speech in Alabama (pictured above) and a series of Saturday tweets drew sharp responses from some of the nation's top athletes 

Several NFL players, starting last season with then-San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, have either knelt, sat or raised fists during the anthem to protest police treatment of blacks and social injustice. Last week at NFL games, four players sat or knelt during the anthem, and two raised fists while others stood by the protesters in support. 

'That's a total disrespect of everything that we stand for,' Trump said, encouraging owners to act. He added: 'Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you'd say, 'Get that son of a b**** off the field right now. Out! He's fired.' 

On Saturday, Trump echoed his stance.

'If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem,' Trump tweeted. 'If not, YOU'RE FIRED. Find something else to do!' 

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell strongly backed the players and criticized Trump for 'an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL' while several team owners issued similar statements. 

Trump started by announcing that Curry, the immensely popular two-time MVP for the Golden State Warriors, would not be welcome at the White House for the commemorative visit traditionally made by championship teams 

Trump doubled down on his criticism of kneeling NFL players in a pair of tweets Saturday
Several NFL players, starting last season with then-San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick (center), have either knelt, sat or raised fists during the anthem to protest police treatment of blacks and social injustice 

Several NFL players, starting last season with then-San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick (center), have either knelt, sat or raised fists during the anthem to protest police treatment of blacks and social injustice 

New York Giants owners John Mara and Steve Tisch said the comments were inappropriate and offensive. Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, who has supported the players who have knelt, said the country 'needs unifying leadership right now, not more divisiveness,' and San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York ripped Trump's comments as 'callous.'

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft - who has been a strong supporter of Trump - said he was 'deeply disappointed by the tone' of the president's comments. Rex Ryan, former coach of New York Jets and Buffalo Bills, said he was 'p****d off' over Trump's comments. 

Plenty of other current and former stars from across sports weighed in Saturday. Richard Sherman of Seattle Seahawks said the president's behavior is 'unacceptable and needs to be addressed.'

In his Friday remarks, Trump also bemoaned what he called a decline in violence in football, noting that it's 'not the same game' because players are now either penalized or thrown out of games for aggressive tackles.

'No man or woman should ever have to choose a job that forces them to surrender their rights,' DeMaurice Smith, the NFL Players Association executive director, said Saturday. 'No worker nor any athlete, professional or not, should be forced to become less than human when it comes to protecting their basic health and safety.'

Tom Brady took to Instagram Sunday morning to post a photo with the caption: 'Strength. Passion. Love. Brotherhood. Team. Unity. Commitment. Dedication. Determination. Respect. Loyalty. Work'

Tom Brady took to Instagram Sunday morning to post a photo with the caption: 'Strength. Passion. Love. Brotherhood. Team. Unity. Commitment. Dedication. Determination. Respect. Loyalty. Work'

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers followed Brady's Instagram post with a similar one

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers followed Brady's Instagram post with a similar one

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Twitter reacts to Trump calling Kaepernick a ‘son of a b*tch’ during Alabama speech news 1x1.trans

On Friday, President Trump told the NFL that they should be firing players who protestduring the national anthem. His exact words were, “get that son of a b—- off the field right now.”

Trump was holding a rally in Huntsville, Alabama, in support of incumbent Senator Luther Strange.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, say, ‘Get that son of a b—- off the field right now. Out, you’re fired!’”

Most people saw this as an attack on Colin Kaepernick though his name was not mentioned specifically.

Kaepernick’s mother, Teresa responded to a journalist’s tweet with the comment, “Guess that makes me a proud b—-!”

“Prediction: Not one NFL owner, not Roger Goodell will say one word about what [Trump] said about Kaep or other NFL players. Not. A. One,” ESPN’s Jemele Hill tweeted.

While Kaepernick has been criticized by those who saw his protest as un-American, he felt the need to stand up against police brutality and his protest has spread to other players.

Trump also spoke of how football games have become less violent than in the past.

“They’re ruining the game,” he said. He complained about players being thrown out of the game for aggressive tackles saying, “it’s not the same game.”

The reason that the game has become less violent is that studies have shown the tremendous damage that can be done to the brains of football players through physical trauma.

Fewer people watch football than they used to and Trump is convinced that it is all due to players protesting.

Here are some of the responses to his comments.

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Comment by Lynn on September 24, 2017 at 5:56am
Low life ignorant scumbag
Comment by Cory on September 24, 2017 at 12:57am

VERY sick guy..  what next for this president...

Comment by Mr. Johnson on September 24, 2017 at 12:56am
Kaep be very careful son. These evil bastards are plotting. Take every precaution. God be with you.
Comment by audrey cumberbatch on September 23, 2017 at 10:57pm

That son of a Nazi b**** has some dam nerve calling someone named. No you cannot demean no one
because you are lower than scum.

Comment by audrey cumberbatch on September 23, 2017 at 10:55pm

Comment by El-Bull on September 23, 2017 at 10:07pm

Imagine that: A racist, Nazi, inbred who is destroying america bit by bit, calling Kaepernick a son of a bytch. Shows you how much class he brought to the presidency and the USA. He's a sick psychotic and pathetic, psychopath 

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