NBA commissioner Adam Silver tells ESPN that he found President Donald Trump’s recent alleged remarks about Haiti and some African nations as “discouraging” but believes that the NBA will not be deterred in its work within communities, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.
Trump was speaking with Republican and Democratic lawmakers when he questioned why the United States would accept more immigrants from Haiti and “shithole countries” instead of places like Norway. The White House did not deny his remark but released a statement that said Trump supports immigration policies that welcome “those who can contribute to our society.”
“I think for both Michele [Roberts] and me, it is a reminder and an impetus to continue pushing forward with the kind of things that we can do together as a league,” Silver said. “Sports continue to be a unique opportunity to unite people and it is a place where there is a rare sense of equality. Certainly we are proud that within the NBA you are judged by your performance on the floor, regardless of your background, nationality or ethnicity. … To me, it is also reinforcement of how important it is that we stay the course in terms of the programs that this league has been operating for decades and new programs like NBA Voices that we are beginning this week.”
“I tend to be an optimist,” he added. “Certainly as I am reminded of the history of this country, much of it which took place during my lifetime, there has been tremendous progress, there is no question about it. Having said that, we have a long way to go.”
Silver was in Memphis for several events on the weekend of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s death. The weekend included a tour of the National Civil Rights Museum.