“The people run this country, not one individual — and damn sure not him,” James said of Trump during the
On Friday, Golden State star Stephen Curry said he didn't want to go to the White House to celebrate the Warriors' NBA title, as is customary with most championship teams. Trump tweeted the next day that the "invitation is withdrawn!"
James tweeted his reaction to the president's words later that day:
Also this weekend, Trump commented that
James reflected on the president in light of the weekend's events while speaking on Monday.
"He doesn't understand the power that he has for being the leader of this beautiful country," James said of Trump. "He doesn't understand how many kids, no matter the race look up to the President of the United States for guidance, for leadership, for words of encouragement. He doesn't understand that, and that's what makes me more sick than anything. ...
"We are at a time when the most powerful position in the world has the opportunity to bring us close together as a people and inspire youth and put youth at ease by saying it's OK for me to walk down the street and not be judged by the color of my skin or because of my race. … And he doesn't even care."
LeBron not alone on media day
Trump said last week that NFL owners should fire any player who refuses to stand for the anthem.
The West Point graduate, former Army Ranger and Afghanistan war veteran said he wasn't making a statement and just wanted to get a glimpse of the American flag.
"It's a very embarrassing part on my end," Villanueva said Monday. "When everyone sees images of me standing by myself, everybody thinks the team and the Steelers are not behind me and that is absolutely wrong. It's quite the opposite."
Villanueva had the most popular-selling jersey on the NFL's website Monday, and on social media he was hailed as a hero.
Brady disagrees with Trump
Elsewhere in the NFL, New England quarterback Tom Brady, who in the past has called Trump a "good friend," said the president's comments were "just divisive" and told Boston's WEEI-FM that he "certainly" disagrees with them.
Trump on Monday lauded NASCAR because no drivers, crew or team members protested during the national anthem before a weekend race at New Hampshire Motorspeedway.
"So proud of NASCAR and its supporters and fans. They won't put up with disrespecting our Country or our Flag — they said it loud and clear!" Trump tweeted.
Several NASCAR team owners and executives had said Sunday they wouldn't want anyone in their organizations to protest. Richard Childress, who was Dale Earnhardt's longtime team owner, said of protesting: "It'll get you a ride on a Greyhound bus."
Childress said he told his team that "anybody that works for me should respect the country we live in. So many people gave their lives for it. This is America."
Hall of Fame driver Richard Petty's sentiments took it a step further, saying: "Anybody that don't stand up for the anthem oughta be out of the country. Period. What got 'em where they're at? The United States."
The Associated Press contributed to this article.