U.S. president Donald Trump‘s racist and vulgar remarks about immigration from Haiti and African countries are “discouraging” says NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
Silver spoke with Toronto Raptors GM Masai Ujiri, and vows that the League and NBPA won’t be deterred from their work seeking positive change in communities.
Adam Silver talked to an upset Masai Ujiri and says alleged Trump remarks is 'discouraging' and won't deter the NBA and NBPA from continuing to try to impact change in communities https://t.co/gVYC9qPncN
— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) January 15, 2018
Trump told reporters on Sunday that he’s the “least racist person you have ever interviewed.”
“I certainly understand how upset [Ujiri] is as an immigrant to this country and Canada,” Silver told ESPN when asked about the Toronto Raptors president and some other players being extremely upset with President Trump’s controversial comments reported by multiple outlets last week. “I think for him, someone who does so much in his daily life to improve the life of Africans through his personal foundation, through our Basketball Without Borders program, it is discouraging. But Masai will not in any way be deterred from the work he is doing just as the league won’t be.”
After taking an emotional tour of the National Civil Rights Museum with NBPA executive director Michele Roberts at the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, Silver was asked about how the Trump controversy struck a nerve with Ujiri and others in the NBA, such as Golden State’s David West. Silver also said that the 50th anniversary of King’s death is “an impetus to continue pushing forward” toward impacting social injustice.
“I think for both Michele and me, it is a reminder and an impetus to continue pushing forward with the kind of things that we can do together as a league,” Silver said. “Sports continue to be a unique opportunity to unite people, and it is a place where there is a rare sense of equality. Certainly, we are proud that within the NBA, you are judged by your performance on the floor, regardless of your background, nationality or ethnicity. … To me, it is also reinforcement of how important it is that we stay the course in terms of the programs that this league has been operating for decades and new programs like NBA Voices that we are beginning this week.”
“I tend to be an optimist,” Silver also said. “Certainly, as I am reminded of the history of this country, much of it which took place during my lifetime, there has been tremendous progress, there is no question about it. Having said that, we have a long way to go.”