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Volume 24 No. 113

Sports in Society

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said that President Trump's reportedly "vulgar comment on immigration 'is discouraging' but will not deter the work of the NBA and NBPA in creating real change in communities," according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com. Silver said of Raptors President Masai Ujiri, a native of Nigeria who was angered by Trump's alleged remarks, "For him, someone who does so much in his daily life to improve the life of Africans through his personal foundation, through our Basketball Without Borders program, it is discouraging. But Masai will not in any way be deterred from the work he is doing just as the league won't be" (ESPN.com, 1/14). ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski noted Ujiri, who has become "one of the most unique front-office success stories in professional sports history, responded strongly" to Trump. Ujiri said, "I don't think it's fair, and I don't think it's what inspiring leadership can be. What sense of hope are we giving people if you are calling where they live -- and where they're from -- a shithole?" He added, "We have to inspire people and give them a sense of hope. We need to bring people along, not ridicule and tear them down. This cannot be the message that we accept from the leader of the free world." Ujiri: "If I grew up in a shithole, I am proud of my shithole" (ESPN.com, 1/12). Ujiri said he considers himself a "son of Africa and a person of the world." Ujiri: "I want to raise my kids (to know) that there are no shitholes anywhere." He added, "To think of Africa that way, or wherever is called that: Have you ever been? Have you ever visited? Have you ever seen these places? What do you know about these people that you call this? A lot of it to me is noise, and we need to think about who we're listening to" (TORONTO STAR, 1/13).

NOT WORTH A RESPONSE: WNBA Connecticut Sun F Chinenye Ogwumike, who was born to Nigerian parents, "declined to respond" to Trump's comments. Ogwumike said, "This has been crazy the last few days. I haven't spoken to my parents about it because I don't need to. I know what my family stands for." In N.Y., Frank Isola wrote the emotion in Ogwumike's words is "powerful when she talks about Africa in the aftermath" of Trump's comments. Ogwumike: "My grandfather is the patriarch of his village. And when I say village I don't mean people living in huts. It's a small town with a university and well respected families." She added, "I've always considered myself a Nigerian, a scholar, a woman and a basketball player. I'm proud of that" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/14).

NFL SPEAKS OUT ON HAITI: Vikings LB Emmanuel Lamur said that he was "saddened" upon hearing Trump's comments. Lamur: "My mom and dad and sister came from Haiti. They worked so hard to get where they're at right now. They just wanted an opportunity to be here and provide the best opportunities to their kids. Isn't that what we all want?" 49ers DE Leger Douzable said of Haiti, "It's absurd to call it a shithole. If you look at the history of the Haitian people, we are some of the strongest people on earth." Redskins WR Pierre Garcon said, "I encourage people to go to Haiti and see things for themselves and learn about it rather than rely on what you see on TV. That would help us, and it would keep things moving in the right direction." He added of Trump, "For someone who has never been to Haiti, to use his platform to say that, it does damage because all of his followers will believe that" (SI.com, 1/13).