Pence Aide: NBA Protests Over Kenosha Are ‘Absurd And Silly’

Members of the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz kneel together around the Black Lives Matter logo on the court during the national anthem before the start of an NBA basketball game Thursday, July 30, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)

Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff said Thursday that NBA protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, are “absurd and silly.”

“If they want to protest, I don’t think we care,” Marc Short told CNN’s “New Day.”

His comments came the day after the NBA postponed three scheduled playoff games, with the Milwaukee Bucks kicking off the boycott by refusing to leave their locker room for the game against the Orlando Magic. The players are demanding that lawmakers act to address police brutality and racial injustice.

Players and teams from MLB, the WNBA, MLS and pro tennis sat out events Wednesday night, and NBA players and coaches met for nearly three hours to determine the next steps, including whether the season should continue.

“I don’t know that you are going to see the administration weigh in one way or the other. In my mind it’s absurd and silly,” Short said.

President Donald Trump, who was to deliver his renomination acceptance speech Thursday evening at a scaled-back Republican National Convention, has made restoring “law and order” to cities a centerpiece of his campaign during a summer of sometimes violent protests following the death of George Floyd, a Black man whose killing by Minneapolis police in late May spurred national unrest.

Short also took aim at the NBA’s relative silence over human rights abuses in China, a key market for the league. The NBA last month faced scathing criticism from Republicans after an ESPN report that young participants in a league program in China were physically beaten by Chinese instructors and were not provided proper schooling.

The league and its players have been outspoken in calls for reforms in the aftermath of the killing of Floyd. The NBA has even incorporated its support for the Black Lives Matter movement into player uniforms and advertising. Trump has called that movement “a symbol of hate.”

“NBA players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they’re able to take a night off from work without having to have the consequences to themselves financially,’ White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said told CNBC on Thursday.

In a separate appearance before an event hosted by Politico, Kushner said that he planned to reach out to Los Angles Lakers star LeBron James, an outspoken advocate for policing changes.

“Look, I do think that peaceful protest has a place and it has importance,” Kushner said. “But I do think that what we need to do right now is make sure that we take the anger that people have and we have to move from slogans to constructive solutions.”

Sen. Tom Cotton, a Trump ally, told Fox News that the reaction by NBA players to the incident in Kenosha was “premature.”

”We shouldn’t be jumping to conclusions until we have all the facts,” said Cotton, R-Ark.



  1. What is wrong with nonviolent protest? It is the right kind of protest!!!

    This is not the first NBA boycott. And with the 19th anniversary of my father’s death tomorrow night, it is worth sharing about the first boycott.

    My father grew up in Lexington, KY, and attended the University of Kentucky. He was a student manager for the basketball and football teams under legendary coaches Adolph Rupp and Bear Bryant. He remained a UK fan for the remainder of his life. He was present at the famous 89 to 50 loss of UK to City College in the 1950 National Invitation Tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York. Many of the leading players were banned for life from basketball after it was discovered that they were shaving points in other games (although not the tournament). Decades later I asked my father whether the loss was legit and he said, “yeah, they just beat us”. UK was an all white team and would remain so until 1970. City College was the first team with black players to win an NCAA basketball championship and I think they may have been the first team with black players to win an NIT. No other team has ever won both.

    Fast forward to October 17, 1961. The St. Louis Hawks and the Boston Celtics had agreed to play an exhibition game in Lexington to honor two UK alumni — Hawks player Cliff Hagan and Celtics player Frank Ramsey. Sam Jones was denied service at the restaurant at their hotel. Jim Crow. Jones returned to his room and told his roommate, Bill Russell. Russell was outraged, called Eastern Airlines, and booked himself a flight back to Boston for before tipoff. Jones asked to come along, and so did K. C. Jones and Tom Sanders. (There was a fifth black player on the Celtics then, rookie Al Butler; Russell said years later in an interview that they couldn’t find him. A report today indicated that Butler also boycotted.) Russell then called one of the black players on the Hawks to inform them what was going on so that they would not be taken by surprise at game time; the black players on the Hawks (Cleo Hill and Lenny Wilkins) also chose not to play.

    Celtics owner Walter Brown, coach Red Auerbach, and the white Celtics players supported Russell and the black players. Russell is still alive at the age of 86 and expressed support for this generation. In a Tweet he called it “good trouble”.

  2. When these overpaid ungrateful hypocrite traitors will boycott Communist China, the place where their shoes and uniforms are made by slave labor? When was the last time these reprobates kneels for Chinese national anthem and flag?

  3. It’s not a boycott, it’s a strike. They’re not consumers, so they can’t boycott anything; they’re employees who are refusing to work, i.e. strikers.

    And it’s stupid and wrong because there is NO “systemic racism”, and there are no policemen gunning for black men. Police are actually less likely to shoot black criminals than white ones. If there really were this problem of police murdering black people they would surely be able to find a few good examples; the fact that their poster boys are all criminals who were shot legitimately and justly shows what they’re really about.

    It all starts with those awful vicious pieces of garbage, Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. Both richly deserved their deaths, and any movement based on them is garbage. Not to mention the LIE that is “hands up don’t shoot”. Anyone who says that deserves whatever happens to him.