Michael Jordan Defends Athletes' Right to Protest After Donald Trump's Tweet

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistSeptember 25, 2017

FILE - In this Aug. 21, 2015, file photo, former NBA star and current owner of the Charlotte Hornets, Michael Jordan, smiles at reporters in Chicago. Jordan announced Monday, July 25, 2016,  he’s giving $1 million to the Institute for Community-Police Relations and $1 million to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to help build trust between blacks and law enforcement following several disturbing clashes around the country. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)
Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

Players protesting during the national anthem has become a divisive issue, but Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan believes freedom of speech should prevail.

"One of the fundamental rights this country is founded on was freedom of speech, and we have a long tradition of nonviolent, peaceful protest," Jordan said Sunday in response to a question about President Donald Trump's tweet to the Golden State Warriors, per Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. "Those who exercise the right to peacefully express themselves should not be demonized or ostracized."

"At a time of increasing divisiveness and hate in this country, we should be looking for ways to work together and support each other and not create more division," he added.

Trump created controversy this weekend when he called for NFL players who protest to be fired, using harsh language in the process. More than 100 football players responded by kneeling during the national anthem Sunday, while others around the league locked arms in solidarity.

Meanwhile, Trump also made waves in NBA circles by announcing his decision to withdraw the Warriors' invite to the White House.

Although he didn't mention Trump by name, Jordan said he supports the NBA and its players while making it clear he will defend the right to protest.

Jordan has become more outspoken on social issues as of late, from his opposition to House Bill 2 in North Carolina to his comments last year on police shootings. He pledged $1 million apiece to the Institute for Community-Police Relations and NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

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