Following demonstrations against police brutality and racial injustice during the national anthem in the NBA on Thursday, New Orleans Pelicans guard JJ Redick isn't worried in the slightest about President Donald Trump's warning that he'll no longer tune into games.
"First of all, I don't think anybody in the NBA cares if President Trump watches basketball. I couldn't care less," Redick told Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes following the Pelicans' loss to the Utah Jazz.
"As far as his base, I think regardless of the specificity of tweeting about the NBA, every tweet of his is meant to divide, every tweet is meant to incite, every tweet is meant to embolden his base. So (last week) was no different."
Trump tweeted last week that "the game is over for me" if players kneel during the anthem once sports resume, calling the protests "a sign of great disrespect."
Trump has taken issue with professional athletes kneeling during the anthem in the past, most notably with NFL players in 2017.
All four teams that played Thursday night - the Pelicans, Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers, and Los Angeles Clippers - kneeled during the anthem, as well as the referees. NBA commissioner Adam Silver later released a statement saying the league won't issue discipline for the protests given the "unique circumstances."
Other players across the league are also planning to kneel during the national anthem ahead of their respective opening games.
"Look, we want people to enjoy the NBA and we love our fans, but I think there has to be some level of acceptance and acknowledgment in what our league is saying, what our league is doing, and what is happening across this country," Redick added. "And the people who are unwilling to acknowledge that, maybe they shouldn't be fans."