Donald Trump—a man for whom kicking hornets nests comes as naturally as if he was a blindfolded guy in clown shoes, walking through Ye Olde Hornet-Filled Woods—found a doozy to punt today, picking a fight with not just one, but two separate major league sports associations in a 24-hour span. Earlier today, Trump took shots at Golden State Warrior (and NBA champion) Steph Curry, causing LeBron James to dub Trump a “bum,” and the Warriors to issue a statement saying they’d be declining the traditional White House visit as a team. Trump then pivoted over to football, doubling down on comments he made at a campaign rally last night that called for professional athletes (i.e., “son of a bitches” like Colin Kaepernick) who dare to take a knee in protest during the National Anthem to be fired.
The idea of Trump—who, despite his own obsession with the myth of his self-made-manhood, inherited a sizable amount of money and opportunities from his father—criticizing athletes for the “privilege” of working all their lives to be the most talented players in their respective sports was just a little too rich for some people, though. The sports stars and celebrities of Twitter quickly hopped online, and it wasn’t long before an all-out online war of words was being waged.
Meanwhile, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell fired back at Trump in a statement, applauding, “our great game and all of our players,” and chastising Trump for “a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.” James also refined his statement, releasing a video post elaborating on his feelings and Trump’s needless divisiveness.
As numerous people have pointed out, there’s a racial component at work here, too; after all, Trump likes sports owners, many of whom contributed to his 2016 campaign. It’s athletes he has a problem with, and, specifically, black athletes, especially those who are willing to use their position as role models and public faces to speak out about their political views. (And whom he can then aim his base at, as an example of the evils his administration is supposedly trying to fight.)
Inevitably, there’s also a statement floating around today from the one man who always has something to say to contradict and highlight the errors of present-day Donald Trump: Past Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, it’s an open question who Trump will pick a fight with next: the NHL, the MLB, or a nuclear-armed North Korea and Iran.
Update: Jesus Christ, he’s still going: