Smart move by USA Basketball — which understands that having a dominant program is more important than having players pledge allegiance to Donald Trump.
Retired U.S. Army general Martin E. Dempsey – who was named the future chair of USA Basketball on Tuesday – told ESPN.com that the players who suit up for the national program are representing their country, not any one or particular president.
“They are not representing President-elect (Donald) Trump,” Dempsey told Andy Katz and Rich Klein on the ESPN/ABC News podcast Capital Games. “They are representing the country where we have a system that stood the test of time with three separate and equal branches of government, representing 350 million people.”
NBA players – along with new Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich – have ripped the new president-elect and expressed criticism over Trump’s election as 45th president. Popovich, an Air Force veteran, voiced his displeasure over his rhetoric.
Dempsey, 64, was elected Tuesday — taking over from Jerry Colangelo. A West Point grad — Dempsey was acting commander of U.S. Central Command under president George W. Bush and later chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Barack Obama.
He told the players that being on the team is about celebrating freedom, and representing the country.