Bucks G Malcolm Brogdon, the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year, said athletes being asked to stick to sports is "extremely offensive," as it "implies that because we’re athletes we don’t have a say or we don’t have an opinion or we don’t have the educational background to comment on things outside of sports." Brogdon: "That is absurd and I encourage all athletes to speak out if they’re comfortable to do it and I think it’s our duty." Brogdon added he was unsure if more NBA players would speak out this season, "but I do hope so." Meanwhile Brogdon, who played at Virginia in Charlottesville, said the recent violence there was “domestic terrorism.” Brogdon: “We live in a country where we go overseas and we fight other people’s wars and we fight terrorism overseas internationally. But we don’t want to fully acknowledge the terrorism that goes on domestically. It’s [a] shocking event, but it’s not surprising.” Brogdon said LeBron James has been “brilliant” in the way he as addressed this issue. Brogdon: "When you have a platform like LeBron, it’s your duty to speak up, it’s your duty to do the right thing, and I think he’s been terrific. He’s been articulate in the way he’s spoken and he’s been truthful" ("SI Now," SI.com, 8/16).
ALL HAIL THE KING: ESPN’s Amin Elhassan said of James, "His foundation puts kids in charter schools, gets college scholarships lined up. He does a lot and he’s been doing it for a long time. He does the action part.” ESPN’s LZ Granderson said, "He’s simply saying let’s treat each other better.” ESPN’s Marcellus Wiley said, “Before you’re a player, you’re a person. Before you put a jersey on you’re still a human being" ("SportsNation," ESPN, 8/16). CBS Sports Network's Adam Schein said of James, "He’s always smart and timely and sensitive when it comes to making comments on societal issues. I truly applaud him for that" ("Time to Schein," CBSSN, 8/16). The L.A. Times' Bill Pascke said, "In this day and age if you have a national platform you have a responsibility to use it if you’re going to preach love." The N.Y Daily News' Frank Isola noted James "understands the ramifications" of his comments and they could be received "positively or negatively" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 8/16). ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk said James now "surpasses" Michael Jordan "right here with the social criticism." Youngmisuk: "We need more people like LeBron to say things like this" ("The Jump," ESPN2, 8/16).
ALL IN FAVOR? Cleveland-based WKRK-FM's Ken Carman: "Would be a shame to have thoughtful vets like Joe Thomas, and rookies like Myles Garrett just 'stick to sports.'" St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Benjamin Hochman, on being told to stick to sports, "I've tweeted 49,765 times. 49,764 on sports." TheScore.com's Ian McLaren: "For the 'stick to sports' crowd, having to stand for the anthem links the game to politics before play even begins."
NOT STICKING TO SPORTS: YAHOO SPORTS' Dan Wetzel wrote under the header, "Trump's Most Unlikely Legacy -- Athletes No Longer 'Sticking To Sports.'" Particularly after the incidents of Charlottesville, the possibility that athletes will "begin to just shut up and play is all but gone." In the Trump era, athletes are "engaged, enraged, empowered and encouraged." For a "long time, players feared it." But now it is "clear athletes are more emboldened than ever." Trump "doesn't scare" athletes such as Stephen Curry or James (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/16). In Sacramento, Ailene Voisin writes a "mood swing" among NBA players is "in the air, on social media, in arenas around the country." The NBA is "not the NFL," where Commissioner Roger Goodell, his owners and his coaches "adhere to the company line and refuse to stick a toe within an inch of dissent." In today’s NBA, if Colin Kaepernick could play backup point guard, he "would have a job" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 8/17). In Hartford, Dom Amore notes Trump's "call to ban transgender people from serving in the military" moved former NBAer Ray Allen to "take to Twitter." Trump's tweet "hit home for Allen, who was born on Castle Air Force Base in California and grew up around the military." Allen said, "If you go to basic training and you can go through the experience and you can survive and stand tall and help people, you can serve this country. That's all that we ask" (HARTFORD COURANT, 8/15). Meanwhile, Seahawks DE Michael Bennett believes it will "take a white player" to protest during the national anthem to "really get things changed" (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 8/16).
Fizdale has been outspoken in community
affairs since becoming Grizzlies coach
HOUSE GUESTS? THE ATHLETIC's Marcus Thompson II reported the defending NBA champion Warriors are "slated to attend the White House on Feb. 27." It would be "incredible theater" if it happens. But there is "no way" Curry "shows up at the White House to shake the hand" of President Trump. There is "no way" Warriors coach Steve Kerr "stands on a podium and smiles while President Trump chats up the team and photographers click away." It is also "probably smart" for Fs Andre Iguodala and David West "not to show up," as they are "guaranteed to bring up how slaves built the White House, and that won't go over well" (THEATHLETIC.com, 8/16).
KEEPING KIDS ON CAMPUS: In DC, Jacob Bogage reports UVA coaches will now "try to convince recruits that Charlottesville, the university’s hometown, is not a beacon of hate." Coaches know that the "horrible scenes of this past weekend will be used by their competitors to try to lure away players." Penn State football "lost recruits in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal" in '11, while Missouri saw enrollment drop 7% after "racially charged, nonviolent protests" in '15 (WASHINGTON POST, 8/17).