Donald Trump is using the NFL’s National Anthem Policy as another divisive tactic to divide the country, according to LeBron James.
On Monday during an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon, the Los Angeles Lakers Forward shared his insights on how Trump’s influence has impacted race relations in sports.
“When you’re a part of sports it just brings so much commradrity, so much fun,” he said to Lemon. “We are in a position right now, in America more importantly, where this race thing is taking over. One, because I think our president is trying to divide us…he’s dividing us. And what I’ve noticed over the last few months is that he kind of used sport to kind of divide us, and that’s something that I can’t relate to. Because, I know sports was the first time I was ever around someone white.”
The four-time NBA MVP went on to share how his experience dealing with inclusion in youth sports eventually benefited his relationships with white friends.
“I got an opportunity to see them and learn about them, and they got the opportunity to learn about me, and we became very good friends,” he said. “And I was like, ‘Oh wow, this is all because of sports.’ And sports has never been something that divides people, it’s always been something to bring someone together.’”
James also attributed Trump’s actions to enabling racists in America and added his lack of interest to sit across from him. “The president in charge now has given people, they don’t care now ― they throw it in your face now…I would never sit across from him,” he said. “I’ve sit across from Barack [Obama] though.”
Later in the interview, James went on to explain how the 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin inspired him to leverage his public platform as an athlete and become vocal on social issues.
“It starts with the Trayvon Martin situation,” he said. “And the reason it starts with that is, I believe it was because having kids of my own, having boys of my own it hit home for me to see and learn the story and to think that if my boy left home and he never returned.”
“That kind of hit a switch for me. And from that point on, I knew my voice and my platform had to be used for more than just sports,” he added.