When Donald Trump was elected president on Tuesday night in a stunning upset over Hillary Clinton, numerous players, coaches, and assorted league personnel took to social media or used their press conferences to vent their disbelief, disappointment, and disgust. The backlash was in no small part due to the dangerously-inflammatory remarks Trump has made about various minority groups in the past and the way many of his supporters have been incited to hate and violence.
Joel Embiid, one of the most outspoken and unfiltered young players in the NBA, joined the fray on Friday in an interview with Adrian Wojnarowski on The Vertical Pod. With a tip of the hat to Sporting News for the text of that segment, the Sixers’ center didn’t pull any punches when he offered his perspective on why he believes Trump was able to pull off such a dramatic victory:
“Growing up in Cameroon, I’ve always thought that the U.S. was just amazing, and it was just a dream,” Embiid said. “I thought it was heaven. And then coming here a couple years ago, the U.S. is still nice, but it’s not like what I thought it was going to be. With the election going on, and Donald Trump just got elected … I just feel like, I don’t usually get into politics, but with the way he’s been acting and talking about racism or women, it’s just hard to understand why people elected him.
“It just shows you the way people think, and I feel like racism isn’t over. People are still behind him, people still want to, I don’t know, talk about it or their actions toward it. It’s just a shame.”
It’s a familiar sentiment among many around the country, and both current and former players have discussed the possibility of boycotting the NBA’s annual White House visit for championship teams while Trump is in office. We’ve entered a unique era of social consciousness in professionals sports, and Trump’s presidency is likely going to accelerate that in ways we’re only beginning to understand.