Even as NFL players engaged in widespread protests over police violence toward African-Americans by taking a knee during the national anthem last weekend, NBA star Stephen Curry and the champion Warriors made their own stand against what they view as divisive rhetoric from President Donald Trump.
After Curry and several other members of the Warriors indicated no interest in attending the traditional White House visit for champions, Trump tweeted “invitation withdrawn.” Asked on Monday for his reaction to the Warriors’ actions and to NFL protests, Nets guard Jeremy Lin supported the right of athletes to use their platform for peaceful protest but said the Nets have not yet discussed taking any action.
“I think that it’s great for everyone to take a stand,” Lin said. “I really like the way that Steph did it. I felt like he did it in a polite way where he wasn’t trying to create hostility or separation. I felt like he was on one end being firm in his beliefs and expressing to everybody what he believes in, and at the same time being gracious about everything and not having any name-calling or things like that. I thought he did a great job.
“Obviously the invite was rescinded, which is just a tough situation to be in, but looking at Steph and the Warriors, I don’t think they could have done anything differently. A lot of what Steph described I feel as well. I’m a minority too . . . I’m not big into politics, but right now I really am in terms of learning and trying to figure out how do I use my platform and my voice to take a stand. Because at the end of the day, we see a lot of injustice still and things aren’t the way we thought they should be in America, or aren’t the way they wish they could be.”
Spencer Dinwiddie is another Net who is active on social media and has shared some political opinions. He said there has been no discussion by the Nets about making any public political gestures, but he expressed support for the NFL players who have done so.
“I support everybody’s right to free speech,” Dinwiddie said.
Referring to a comment by Trump calling NFL protesters “sons of a [expletive],” Dinwiddie added, “Obviously, the comments that were made were just wrong. I don’t have any other statement for that. It’s wrong to call anybody a SOB or anything like that. They exercised that right of free speech and I stand with that.”
Dinwiddie said the Warriors should not be chastised for their show of unity in deciding not to visit the White House. “You can’t call for them to be fired for making a group decision,” Dinwiddie said, alluding to Trump’s calls for NFL protesters to lose their jobs.
The idea of professional athletes taking public political stands is controversial for some fans but welcomed by others who regard it as a show of social responsibility. “I think because of our platform, we owe it to society,” Dinwiddie said. “The same people that give us our power, we owe it to give a little bit back.”