In an interview with the Guardian that was published on Tuesday, Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown criticized President Trump. The “Beantown” hooper labeled Trump: “unfit to lead.”
“I just think Trump’s character and some of his values makes him unfit to lead,” Brown explained to the Guardian. “For someone like him to be president, and in charge of our troops? It’s scary to be honest.”
Brown believes one of the best examples of how Trump is “unfit,” has to do with his handling of the LiAngelo/LaVar Ball saga.
After LiAngelo was detained in China on shoplifting charges, President Trump lobbied the Chinese President Xi Jinping to gain the release of Ball, and two other UCLA players who were placed on house arrest with him.
The Chinese government did eventually release the three players, and Chinese leaders credited Trump for his work in gaining their release. However, prior to the players’ return home to the United States, President Trump mused on Twitter about whether the basketball players would thank him for intervening.
That desire for a thank you from the players, did not sit well with Jaylen Brown.
“He demanded a thank you,” Brown told the Guardian. “It’s ridiculous. What happened to people doing things out of the generosity of their heart or because it was the right thing to do? There have been multiple situations where it’s been ridiculous but that one was like: ‘OK I’m done. I’m done listening to anything you have to say.’ A 19-year-old kid makes a mistake overseas and [Trump] demands an apology from his dad? I think Trump’s unfit to lead.”
Brown also took issue with Trump on issues of race.
“Some people think racism has dissipated or no longer exists. But it’s hidden in more strategic places. You have less people coming to your face and telling you certain things. But Trump has made it a lot more acceptable for racists to speak their minds.”
On Colin Kaepernick’s protest movement, and whether he was surprised that Kaepernick is still out of the league, Brown said:
Absolutely. I wasn’t shocked how it turned out. Colin was trying to get back into the NFL and find another team and he’s more than capable. But I knew it was over. I knew they weren’t going to let him back. Nobody wanted the media attention or to take the risk. They probably just wanted to blackball him out of the league.
That’s the reality because sports is a mechanism of control. If people didn’t have sports they would be a lot more disappointed with their role in society. There would be a lot more anger or stress about the injustice of poverty and hunger. Sports is a way to channel our energy into something positive. Without sports who knows what half of these kids would be doing?
We’re having some of the same problems we had 50 years ago. Some things have changed a lot but other factors are deeply embedded in our society. It takes protests like Kaepernick’s to make people uncomfortable and aware of these hidden injustices. People are now a lot more aware, engaged and united in our culture. It takes a special person like Kaepernick to force these changes – because often reporters and fans say: ‘If you’re an athlete I don’t want you to say anything. You should be happy you’re making x amount of money playing sport. You should be saluting America instead of critiquing it.’ That’s our society.
It’s hard to reason with this line of view, especially the comments regarding the media. The American sports media went to great lengths to televise every protest and, rarely, if ever, challenged any of the players on the style or substance of their protest. Brown also doesn’t list any examples of how people are more “engaged and united” with respect to issues of race, or police brutality.
In fact, given the tremendous backlash NFL fans had against the player-led protest movement, there’s more evidence that Kaepernick’s demonstrations resulted in engagement and unity against the player protests, not in favor.
Brown is averaging 14 points a game for the Celtics, in his second year in the NBA.