Warriors F Kevin Durant said that he will "not visit" the White House if the team is invited, according to Chris Haynes of ESPN.com. Durant: "I won't do that. I don't respect who's in office right now." The White House has "not extended a formal invitation to the Warriors." Durant added of President Trump, "I don't agree with what he agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that." He added that it "wasn't an organizational decision." Durant "believes the president has played a role in the escalation of racial tension" and the "public rise of white supremacists." Durant said that the "onus is on everyone, but more so on people of stature, to take a stand." Durant: "For us to move forward, we need more athletes and people of power and influence to come out and speak. It's great to see a lot of athletes coming together and trying to direct a positive path for a lot of kids and a lot of people in this country who look up to us. It's huge for us. It's huge for sports. It's huge for the influence we have, because we're leaders at the end of the day. It feels good to see my brothers in the NBA and across sports speaking out" (ESPN.com, 8/17). NBCSPORTSBAYAREA.com's Monte Poole wrote, "Bravo for Durant. For speaking up when so many others are silent and, by acknowledging that this is an individual decision, proving he is willing to stand on a personal set of principles." Durant is "not the first Warrior to publicly express such sentiments," as Gs Stephen Curry, Shaun Livingston and F Andre Iguodala have "specifically said they would not be willing to make the visit that has become customary for American championship teams." Coach Steve Kerr and F David West also have "been vocal in denouncing Trump’s discriminatory rhetoric and boorish behavior." This team has a "collective conscience" (NBCSPORTSBAYAREA.com, 8/17).
TALK AIN'T CHEAP: NEWSWEEK's Tim Marcin wrote when Cavaliers F LeBron James does something, it "stands out." There is "no current American athlete more important, famous or relevant." So it "matters when James criticizes" Trump. His decision to do so "comes with potential negative ramifications." Athletes are "effectively in sales -- they’re convincing you their thing (a ticket to a game, a sneaker, a television package) provides more value than literally anything else you could spend that money on." A lot of people voted for Trump, which means a lot of people "might disagree with James" (NEWSWEEK.com, 8/16).
TREAD MARKS: Dale Earnhardt Jr. said that he "felt a responsibility" to speak out after violence in Charlottesville and Barcelona. Earnhardt: "It’s sad and frustrating to see what happened. ... It’s great that a lot of athletes did speak on it. It encourages people like myself to speak up, and I think that it’s been a very difficult period of time over the last couple of years for our country" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/18). USA TODAY's Mike Hembree noted Earnhardt is a "frequent social media commentator after years of aggressively avoiding that form of media" (USA TODAY, 8/18). The AP's Jenna Fryer tweeted, "Many NASCAR drivers have spoken out about current US climate & developments of this week. I have yet to see anything from NASCAR leadership."