Sport Basketball NBA star LeBron James maintains the rage against Donald Trump
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NBA star LeBron James maintains the rage against Donald Trump

LeBron james lashes Donald Trump again
"He's using the sports platform to try to divide us." Photo: AAP
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NBA star Lebron James has taken another swipe at US President Donald Trump after the President hit out at National Football League (NFL) players, coaches and owners for taking the knee during the national anthem.

Speaking at a Cleveland Cavaliers’ media day, James refused to refer to Mr Trump by name during a spray in which he lashed the President for trying to “divide us as people”.

“It was solidarity. There was no divide. Even from that guy [Mr Trump] that continues to try and divide us as people,” James said.

“Like I said on one of my social media platforms a couple days ago, the thing that kind of frustrated me and pissed me off a little bit is the fact that he’s now, he’s using the sports platform to try to divide us.”

James also contended Mr Trump didn’t “understand the power that he has for being the leader of this beautiful country”.

“He doesn’t understand how many kids, no matter the race, look up to the President of the United State for guidance, for leadership, for words of encouragement,” James said at the media call on Monday (US time).

“He doesn’t understand that, and that’s what makes me more sick than anything.”

“I don’t even like saying his name. So while I have this platform, I will continue to inspire the state of Ohio …”

“Like I said on one of my social media platforms a couple days ago, the thing that kind of frustrated me and pissed me off a little bit is the fact that he’s now, he’s using the sports platform to try to divide us.”

The protest started last year after then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem to protest police treatment of African-Americans and social injustice.

The protest has gathered pace over the past few days with athletes either kneeling, sitting or raising fists during the anthem, which Mr Trump slammed as “a total disrespect of everything that we stand for”.

Mr Trump said any NFL player that did not stand during the anthem was a “son of a bitch” who should be “fired” by the league.

But Mr Trump has maintained his call for players to be sacked was about “respect for our flag”, not race.

At a media briefing on Monday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: “I think if this is the debate is really for them about police brutality, they should probably protest the officers on the field that are protecting them instead of the American flag.”

Amid his criticism of the athletes, Mr Trump took time to praise the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) after none of its drivers, crew or team members protested during the national anthem before a race in New Hampshire.

– with AAP