This summer, President Donald Trump has awarded two former NBA greats — Bob Cousy of Boston Celtics fame and Jerry West of Los Angeles Lakers fame — the Medal of Freedom. Cousy received his award a couple months back, and West was honored Thursday.
Trump did not make the awards without reaping derision from the New York Times, which notes that both men are white and President Trump seems to have issues with current African American NBA players. The Times writers Michael Crowley and Kevin Draper caught heat from Power Line blogger Paul Mirengoff for their inconsistencies, too.
In making much ado about race over these awards, Crowley and Draper write:
But the awards for two white stars of a bygone — and far less racially diverse — basketball era are notable in light of Mr. Trump’s hostile relations with some of today’s black N.B.A. stars. Two years ago, the president withdrew his traditional White House invitation to a professional league’s championship team, in this case the N.B.A.’s Golden State Warriors, after the team’s best player, Stephen Curry, said that he would not attend such an event.
The Times writers also make a point of how no NBA championship teams have made the usually customary visit the White House since Trump took office. Curry and former Cleveland Cavalier/now L.A. Laker LeBron James bickered with the president, and the negated any White House celebrations. Toronto's championship team also did not visit Trump this year. The Warriors did, however, visit former President Barack Obama in D.C. this past season, further implying the differences between Trump and the above mentioned players are actually more political than racial.
President Trump "has also lashed out at black N.F.L. stars," The Times reminded. He did so over Colin Kaepernick and other national anthem protesters, whom he said should be fired. But those implications of race fall short when looking at current and former black athletes whom Trump has befriended and honored, Jim Brown, Mariano Rivera, Alan Page and Tiger Woods among them.
Mirengoff calls the Times reporters on the carpet for overlooking West's many basketball achievements and instead focusing on race and politics, as well as their hypocrisy over Obama's Medal of Freedom awards:
Obama awarded the Medal of Freedom to three NBA players — (Abdul-) Jabbar, Michael Jordan, and Bill Russell. All three are black (and deserving).
Did the New York Times ever note the racial disparity in Obama’s selection of basketball players for the Medal of Freedom award? I doubt it. Did it peer into the political preferences of (Abdul-) Jabbar, Jordan, and Russell? I’m pretty sure it didn’t.
Mirengoff concludes that "Jerry West and Bob Cousy should be able to enjoy their award without lefty journalists implying they received it for racial/political reasons. But the New York Times is determined to inject race and politics into everything it touches, in service of its left-wing agenda."