The Milwaukee Bucks’ groundbreaking decision to boycott their playoff game against the Orlando Magic in protest of Jacob Blake’s tragic shooting (leaving the 29-year-old paralyzed from the waist down) at the hands of Kenosha police had all of Twitter buzzing. But one voice remained noticeably absent as reaction poured in from all sectors of social media. President Donald Trump, likely consumed by the ongoing Republican National Convention (he’ll deliver a speech officially accepting the party’s presidential nomination tonight), did not comment on Wednesday’s NBA boycott until the subject was raised in a media session Thursday afternoon.
When asked to share his thoughts on the protests that led commissioner Adam Silver to postpone the league’s entire Wednesday and Thursday hoops slates (though play is expected to resume this weekend), Trump deflected, instead choosing to focus on the NBA’s poor television ratings, at least in his estimation. “I don’t know much about the NBA protests. I know their ratings have been very bad because I think people are a little tired of the NBA, frankly,” said the president while attending a FEMA briefing over Hurricane Laura, which made landfall in Louisiana earlier today. “They’ve become like a political organization and that’s not a good thing. I don’t think that’s a good thing for sports or for the country.”
This is the type of response we’ve come to expect from President Trump, who has previously been critical of Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players for protesting during the national anthem. Trump also came to Drew Brees’ defense earlier this year when the veteran quarterback said he would “never agree with anyone disrespecting the flag.” The president later walked back his support of Brees, claiming the New Orleans Saints star would “regret” apologizing.
Speaking of ratings, according to Michael Grynbaum of the New York Times, coverage of Wednesday night’s Republican convention held in Charlotte drew an estimated 15.7 million viewers (predictably, conservative-leaning Fox News was responsible for nearly half that audience). That’s nearly 25 percent fewer than the third night of last week’s DNC headlined by former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, the 44th president of the United States Barack Obama and Joe Biden’s running mate on the Democratic ticket, California senator Kamala Harris.