The Steph Curry and LeBron James trashing of President Trump is about selling product rather than politics or policy.
That is the conclusion of Fox Sports 1 commentator Jason Whitlock as contained in the clips embedded below.
After two tours of duty with ESPN, the contrarian Whitlock — the former Kansas City Star columnist — is back with Fox Sports.
Other than perhaps Fox Sports colleague Clay Travis, Whitlock is perhaps the only national sports media analyst that is unwilling to accept the social activism by some athletes at face value.
Parenthetically, late last month ESPN/ABC anchor Sage Steele drew extensive criticism from progressives on social media as well as those in her own profession for an Instagram message discussing how the anti-Trump airport protesters were inconveniencing other travelers.
With Colin Cowherd, another ESPN expatriate, Jason Whitlock is the co-host of Speak For Yourself, an offering on the ratings-challenged FS1 channel airing weekdays at 5 p.m. Eastern time, which appears to be the network’s answer to ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption.
Under Armour founder and CEO Kevin Plank creating something of a controversy recently when, about President Trump, he said that a pro-business president is a real asset to the country.
Since taking office (and actually before), Trump has been meeting with big business and small business executives — including today’s dialogue with female entrepreneurs with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sitting in — virtually all of whom have left such meetings making praiseworthy comments about Trump’s job-creating commitment.
Reacting to Plank’s remarks, Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry, who makes big money endorsing Under Armour products and has his own shoe line with the company, chimed in that “I agree with that description, if you remove the ‘et’ from asset,” the San Jose Mercury News reported.
In a subsequent conversation with Curry, Plank explained that he “was not discussing any of Trump’s other policies.” Curry also told the newspaper that he didn’t vote for Trump in the November 2016 presidential election but generally tries to avoid talking about politics.
Steph Curry led his team to an NBA record 73 regular-season wins in the 2015-2016 season, but coughed up three games to one lead in the NBA finals, ultimately losing the title 4-3 to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Whitlock left the Bristol, Connecticut-based ESPN for the second time in the fall of 2015, several months after losing his gig as editor-in-chief of the long-form sports journalism site The Undefeated, which has been described as the “black Grantland.” The Undefeated finally launched officially on May 17, 2016, although the sports network shut down Grantland in late October 2015, five months after the departure of high-profile editor Bill Simmons, whose HBO show was canceled in early November.
During a panel discussion on Speak for Yourself, Jason Whitlock argued that Steph Curry is being overshadowed by new teammate Kevin Durant. He also insisted that Steph Curry’s Under Armour shoe sales are tanking and therefore Curry is seeking “street cred” and Twitter cred with anti-Trump comments to get consumers to buy his shoes.
“Kevin Plank…made very benign comments about Donald Trump, and guess who gets to come out and throw his fist in the air and act like he’s a social justice warrior…it’s a marketing deal. This is business. Nothing matters but the money. If it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense—orchestrated marketing campaign.”
— Speak For Yourself (@SFY) February 9, 2017
Whitlock also took a dim view of the LeBron James “equality” commercial for Nike. Cavs superstar James endorsed Hillary Clinton in the presidential election and campaigned with her in Ohio, a state that Trump carried.
According to Whitlock, LeBron James was doing Nike’s bidding because Nike is a global company that does not subscribe to President Trump’s American First philosophy of bringing jobs back to America and encouraging business expansion in the U.S.
“It’s marketing, it’s a façade…it’s a trite little message; it’s Nike, in my view, trying to go after Trump, and that’s all about business. That’s not about equality or whatever…If they really believe in equality, then quit going over to Asia and getting all that slave labor and the coming over here and selling those $200 shoes to everybody…”
— Speak For Yourself (@SFY) February 13, 2017
Jason Whitlock has also expressed criticism of San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick’s take-a-knee National Anthem protest, describing it more or less as divisive, childish, uninformed, and self-serving and claimed that progressives are ruining football.
Players on championship teams are making a mistake by skipping a White House visit, Jason Whitlock asserted on today’s broadcast; instead, they should show up and engage the president on the issues on which they disagree. He also warned about the potential backlash against players who want to go or pressure on them to change their mind.
— Speak For Yourself (@SFY) February 13, 2017
[Featured Image by John Amis/AP Images]