A few days after President Donald Trump ridiculed the NFL and its players for wanting to peacefully protest police brutality and racism and rescinding a White House invitation for the NBA champion Golden State Warriors, Washington Wizards guards John Wall and Bradley didn’t hold back their thoughts.
When asked by reporters during the Wizards’ media day Monday at the Capital One Arena about Trump’s comments, Beal called the president “a clown.”
“To me, that’s not a leader,” he said while sitting beside Wall at the podium. “For you to come out and disrespect a whole sport the whole world basically loves and call people out of their names — SOB’s. That’s out of pocket to me. You have guys who won a championship and they have the freedom of deciding whether or not to go [to the White House] and when one man decides not to go, how in the world can you end it like that? To me, you’re a clown. That’s unacceptable.
“That’s not what a leader does,” Beal said. “Your job is to bring everybody together. Everybody in the world feels like since [Trump] got into office, that hasn’t been the case. Puerto Rico doesn’t have any water or power and their still part of the U.S. You’re worried about guys kneeling during the national anthem. If you would look at the reason that they’re kneeling instead of your own personal pleasure, then you’ll fully understand it. If we can’t exercise our right to freedom of speech, then what are the amendments for?”
Wall had a few words to add.
“It was people taking a knee … and doing it for a reason. You can’t do nothing but respect their decision,” he said. “You’re not being respectful. We all look at you as being the president of our nation. I do want you to help us with these causes, not sit back and worry about the little things. I don’t respect him.”
Trump has received criticism nationwide for his social media outbursts that included a tweet about Warriors point guard Stephen Curry for hesitating on a decision to visit the White House, a ritual for championship sports teams.
Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James posted a tweet Saturday directed at Trump: “U bum. @StephenCurry30 already said he ain’t going? So therefore ain’t no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!”
When later asked about using social media to speak out on social topics, Beal said whether athletes realize it or not, they’re role models.
“I always stand on what I say,” he said. “I’ll never go back and try to apologize for what I said. It is something I firmly being in. I have a voice. People hear our voices and have a lot more power and a lot of say so … because people look up to us and see us on TV. If I can reach one person, that’s everything.”