As he did two years ago when some professional football players began kneeling during the national anthem to draw attention to the issue of racial justice and police brutality, President Donald Trump is again attacking athletes for daring to have an opinion on political issues which confront the country.

Minutes after he spoke at a campaign rally in New Hampshire Friday evening, Trump was talking with reporters aboard Air Force One. He was asked about the decision by NBA players to postpone playoff games in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake by police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The president responded:

“It’s terrible. I think what they’re doing to the NBA in particular is going to destroy basketball. I can’t – I don’t even watch it. … You know when you watch sports, you want to sort of relax, but this is a whole different world. … You don’t want to stay in politics. You want to relax. It’s very bad for the NBA and it’s going to prove to be very bad for football. Roger Goodell should have learned his lesson two years ago. And I’m not letting up. I’m not letting up. They were begging for mercy two years ago on the flag. I’m not letting up. And then, all of a sudden, in the middle of the summer, he’s sitting there in a t-shirt and it’s blue – I guess he thought he looked good – and he was sitting there saying about – he started the whole argument again. It’s going to be very bad for football and I think it’s very bad for the NBA. Maybe even NBA threatening. And it’s going to be very bad for baseball if they don’t get smarter.”

The NFL was begging for mercy two years ago on the flag? That’s odd considering that the overall ratings for pro football in both 2018 and 2019 were very good. As the New York Post noted as recently as June:

“While it may have had a slight impact on some ratings, overall the numbers fall then and subsequent rise has been due to a number of factors that media writer Anthony Crupi, who studies this exact thing, has pointed to. There were an inordinate amount of bad games in 2016, Crupi’s studies showed, and an oversaturation of football combined with an explosion of cord-cutting.”

And it turns out that NBA players may wind up having the last laugh on Trump because they’re helping get out the vote. On Friday the NBA announced:

“In every city where the league franchise owns and controls the arena property, team governors will continue to work with local elections officials to convert the facility into a voting location for the 2020 general election to allow for a safe in-person voting option for communities vulnerable to COVID. If a deadline has passed, team governors will work with local elections officials to find another election-related use for the facility, including but not limited to voter registration and ballot receiving boards.”

Making it easier to vote is one of Trump’s worst fears. He knows that a high turnout election is bad news for him. So his anger towards the league may wind up coming back to bite him where it hurts most: At the ballot box.

Featured Image Via CBS Sports