On Monday, Donald Trump defended Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager accused of killing two protesters during anti-racist protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last week. On Tuesday, however, he was happy enough to attack NBA players for boycotting games for police brutality.
“People are tired of watching the very political @NBA,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “The basketball odds are VERY low and they won’t come back. I hope soccer and baseball watch and learn because the same will happen to them. Stand up straight for our country and our flag !!! “
People are tired of watching the highly political @NBA. The basketball odds are VERY low and they will not come back. I hope soccer and baseball watch and learn because the same will happen to them. Stand up straight for our country and our flag !!!
– Donald J.Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 1 septembre 2020
Trump is correct that NBA ratings have declined: Athletic reported last month that audiences were down 45% from the 2011-12 season on network TV shows and 20% on ESPN. However, it’s hard to put the blame entirely on politics: numbers were down before the player protests began, while TV audiences have generally declined as people watch online or on streams. illegal. Younger viewers are also believed to prefer highlights rather than watching full games.
The Milwaukee Bucks were the first team to boycott a game, doing so last week in response to Jacob Blake’s shooting by police. Blake, who is black, was shot in the back in front of three of his children by a white policeman. Other NBA teams followed, as did teams from the WNBA, MLS, MLB and NHL.
Although white athletes took part in the recent spate of protests, over 80% of NBA players are black and Trump has a long history of attacks on black athletes. In 2017, he called the kneeling black NFL players during the national anthem “motherfuckers,” and traded insults with NBA biggest star LeBron James.
The NFL, the most popular league in the United States, begins its season later this month. Early players protested racism and police brutality when Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016. Players from almost every NFL team, who typically have a more conservative fan base than the NBA, have said they intend to stage some sort of protest in the coming season.