American athletes from a range of sports have gone in to slam Fox News host Laura Ingraham after she defended Drew Brees on Thursday.
Brees, the New Orleans Saints quarterback, drew the ire of the sporting world when he said he does not feel NFL players should kneel during the national anthem and called the gesture disrespectful to the American flag.
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Those comments were widely condemned, and now Ingraham has caused even more drama by defending them.
A handful of athletes called out the Fox News host on Thursday after she defended Brees just a few months after she told LeBron to “shut up and dribble” when James criticised President Donald Trump.
Video of Ingraham’s reactions to both incidents went viral on Thursday, with many labelling her a hypocrite.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers star Mike Evans was particularly critical, saying “people like her are f***ing disgusting” on Twitter.
Evans wasn’t the only athlete to weigh in on that video. Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen called out the clip too.
“Wow... so Bron and KD need to shut up and dribble... but DREW BREES (white man) can have opinions...RACISM!!!” he tweeted.
Wow... so Bron and KD need to shut up and dribble... but DREW BREES (white man) can have opinions... 🤦🏽♂️— Keenan Allen (@Keenan13Allen) June 4, 2020
That criticism wasn’t limited to NFL players either. New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman and Seattle Mariners pitcher Taijuan Walker expressed frustration at Ingraham’s opinion.
KD and LeBron...sHuT uP aNd DrIbBlE! Drew Brees...he’s allowed to have an opinion. I pray y’all see the problem there! 🖤— Marcus Stroman (@STR0) June 4, 2020
Former Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Childress also weighed in.
I wonder what changed her opinion on the matter 🤔🤔🤔🤔 https://t.co/BWpz8hmB8a— Josh Childress (@JChillin) June 4, 2020
Tennis star Naomi Osaka posted a particularly pointed tweet in Ingraham’s direction.
Laura Ingraham, you are the problem. What @drewbrees said is ok but what @KDTrey5 and @KingJames said is not. It’s time that you look at yourself in the mirror. #EqualityMatters #EqualRights https://t.co/dImZze5WpN— lindsey vonn (@lindseyvonn) June 4, 2020
LeBron James responds
James made the best of Ingraham’s criticism.
He embraced that phrase, and produced a documentary series called “Shut Up And Dribble” which addressed the “changing role of athletes in our fraught cultural and political environment.”
It’s no surprise that he found time to respond to Ingraham on Thursday.
“If you still haven’t figured out why the protesting is going on. Why we’re acting as we are is because we are simply F-N tired of this treatment right here!” LeBron tweeted.
“Can we break it down for you any simpler than this right here???? And to my people don’t worry I won’t stop until I see.”
If you still haven’t figured out why the protesting is going on. Why we’re acting as we are is because we are simply F-N tired of this treatment right here! Can we break it down for you any simpler than this right here???? 🤦🏾♂️. And to my people don’t worry I won’t stop until I see https://t.co/e4pJ0PvwJj— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 4, 2020
Naomi Osaka hits back at criticism
Meanwhile, Osaka also called out people who demand athletes only entertain, explaining some issues are human rights issues.
Osaka, 22, has been outspoken following the death of George Floyd, tweeting or retweeting support for protesters, calling out systemic racism and highlighting instances of police brutality. She’s also shared a few messages from critics who think she should focus on tennis.
Osaka explained why she’s not going to do that.
“I hate when random people say athletes shouldn’t get involved with politics and just entertain,” she wrote on Twitter.
“Firstly, this is a human rights issue. Secondly, what gives you more right to speak than me? By that logic if you work at IKEA you are only allowed to talk about the “GRÖNLID”
I hate when random people say athletes shouldn’t get involved with politics and just entertain. Firstly, this is a human rights issue. Secondly, what gives you more right to speak than me? By that logic if you work at IKEA you are only allowed to talk about the “GRÖNLID” 🤷🏽♀️?— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) June 4, 2020