Some star athletes might be worried about taking public stances that won’t sit well with a segment of the population and align with a carefully crafted individual brand.
Ben Simmons has made it clear he’s not concerned about that at the moment.
After retweeting several tweets that frankly criticized President Donald Trump, the Sixers’ point guard shared the following message early Tuesday morning:
This is not what a leader looks like. His actions and cold words are cowardly. Do not allow these messages of hate and divide draw your attention away from the REAL goal of UNITY and EQUALITY which is achieved through LOVE and COMPASSION. I love y’all, stay safe ☮️— Ben Simmons (@BenSimmons25) June 2, 2020
Let me be clear. I will ALWAYS fight for equality and unity. If you call yourself a fan of me but do not agree with EQUALITY and UNITY for everyone then I don’t want or need you in my corner.— Ben Simmons (@BenSimmons25) June 2, 2020
In 2017, Simmons had called Trump "an idiot" after he'd referred to NFL players who protested by kneeling on the field during the national anthem as "sons of bitches."
Monday night, members of the police and National Guard had cleared a crowd of protestors in Washington, D.C., by “firing rubber bullets, pepper spray, tear gas and flash-bang grenades into the crowd,” according to NBC News, so that Trump could pose for photos with a bible outside of St. John’s Episcopal Church.
Before that incident, Trump delivered a speech at the Rose Garden in which he threatened military force, saying governors should deploy the National Guard to “dominate the streets” as protests continue across America following the death of George Floyd.
A 46-year-old black man, Floyd was killed last week in police custody. Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was recorded on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes and has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The other officers on the scene, Tou Thao, J Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane, were fired but have not been charged.
Simmons and other Sixers players, including Tobias Harris, Mike Scott and Josh Richardson, have vocally opposed racism and police brutality in the aftermath of Floyd’s killing. Harris joined protestors in Philadelphia on Saturday and has remained active on social media.
Respectfully family, if you’re silent, we don’t know what side you’re on. And if we don’t know what side you’re on, it is safe to assume you’re on the other side... https://t.co/YLDFs4EdFk— Tobias Harris (@tobias31) June 1, 2020
On Monday, the third day of protests in the city, protestors shut down I-676. Police officers then pushed them off the road and fired tear gas.
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