President Trump on Thursday said the National Basketball Association is turning into a “political organization” in the wake of players’ decision to strike late Wednesday amid tensions over a police shooting in Wisconsin.
“I don’t know much about the NBA protest. I know their ratings have been very bad because I think people are a little tired of the NBA,” he said during a stop at the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “They’ve become like a political organization, and that’s not a good thing.”
Mr. Trump has criticized the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and pro athletes who kneel during the national anthem to protest racial injustice.
The Milwaukee Bucks decided not to play their playoff game Wednesday to call attention to the shooting of a Black man — Jacob Blake — in Kenosha, Wisconsin, during an interaction with police, saying they needed to turn the league’s support for BLM into action.
Their protest spread to the rest of the NBA and other sports leagues.
The White House, meanwhile, is authorizing the National Guard to quell unrest in Kenosha in the wake of the shooting.
“We will put out the fire. We will put out the flame,” the president said. “We will stop the violence very quickly.”