The president won't be at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 15, after all.
Donald Trump announced Monday he no longer will throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the New York Yankees' Aug. 15 against the Boston Red Sox, citing his "strong focus" on the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump said Thursday that Yankees president Randy Levine invited him to throw out the first pitch at a game this season.
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The President throwing out a ceremonial first pitch has been a Major League Baseball tradition for over 100 years, but Trump has yet to do so since taking office in 2016. If he doesn't get to a game during his tenure, he'd be the first president not to throw out a ceremonial first pitch at a major league game since 1910.
Trump promised to throw out a first pitch at a game later this season, but COVID-19 obviously complicates matters. The United States has had over 4.2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and nearly 147,000 COVID-19-related deaths as of Monday, both the highest by far of any country in the world.
The Red Sox' first trip to New York is scheduled for Friday, July 31, when they'll begin a three-game series against their American League East rival.
If and when the 2020 NFL season begins this fall, several high-profile players already have said they will take a knee during the national anthem to protest the racial injustices in the country.
The "if" at the beginning of that sentence exists because Dr. Anthony Fauci recently stated "football may not happen this year" due to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially if the NFL doesn't hold the season in a bubble similar to what the NBA has planned.
On Friday, though, President Donald Trump downplayed Fauci's comments while simultaneously speaking out against kneeling during the anthem.
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"Tony Fauci has nothing to do with NFL Football. They are planning a very safe and controlled opening," Trump tweeted. "However, if they don’t stand for our National Anthem and our Great American Flag, I won’t be watching!!!"
Those remarks didn't sit well with Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum, who fired back with a tweet of his own.
There's no doubt the 22-year-old is saying what many other players are thinking right about now.
Several of Tatum's Celtics teammates including Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, and Enes Kanter already have let their voices be heard during Black Lives Matter protests.
When the NBA season resumes and the NFL season begins, we can expect even more athletes to use their platforms to raise awareness, regardless of how Trump feels about it.
Robert Kraft can't have his cake and eat it too.
That's according to San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, who labeled the New England Patriots owner and the six other NFL owners who donated to Donald Trump's Inaugural Committee in 2017 "hypocrites" as they put out statements condemning racial inequality and police brutality following the murder of George Floyd.
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"It’s just hypocritical," Popovich told The New York Times' Maureen Dowd when asked about Kraft and other owners financially supporting the President. "It’s incongruent. It doesn’t make sense. People aren’t blind.
"Do you go to your staff and your players and talk about injustices and democracy and how to protest? I don’t get it. I think they put themselves in a position that’s untenable."
In a statement earlier this month, the Kraft family said the Patriots organization was "horrified" by recent acts of racism, notably Floyd's murder by a Minneapolis police offer in late May. The family also promised action to combat racism in America and recently pledged $1 million in donations to local organizations that are working to end systemic racism.
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Yet Kraft and several other owners also have close ties to Trump, who has repeatedly criticized Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem to protest the same issues that persist today.
Considering Trump's stance on player protests (which hasn't changed), Popovich believes it's disingenuous for NFL owners who have supported the President to claim they support their players in their fight for racial justice.
Roger Goodell recently admitted he was wrong for not listening to players who joined Kaepernick's protest movement, but Popovich doesn't think the NFL commissioner deserves a pass, either.
"He got intimidated when Trump jumped on the kneeling," Popovich said. "He folded."