Stick to sports.
In 2018, those three words should never be used during an argument involving an athlete. There are too many important things going on in this country right now for athletes to simply sit by and "stick to sports." Guys like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, and every other athlete with a voice should do everything but stick to sports when they’re asked for their opinion on a pressing political or social matter.
Unfortunately, not everyone has gotten that memo yet.
On Thursday, UNINTERRUPTED released a fascinating interview that LeBron James and Kevin Durant did with ESPN’s Cari Champion recently. During it, the two NBA stars spent more than 15 minutes talking about everything from their earliest memories of basketball to their development as NBA players. But the most interesting—and most important—part of the interview came about five minutes in when the two talked about the current state of American politics, and in particular, Donald Trump.
LeBron, who is no fan of Trump, skewered the POTUS and explained why he’s been taking aim at him early and often throughout his brief presidency. "The No. 1 job in America, the appointed person [Trump], is someone who doesn’t understand the people—and really don’t give a fuck about the people," LeBron said.
KD, who has also spoken up against Trump, echoed LeBron and suggested "the country is not run by a great coach" while talking about America’s leadership.
Their comments obviously ruffled a few feathers among the "stick to sports" crowd. But the worst take on the situation came from Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who spent a portion of her show The Ingraham Angle questioning LeBron and KD’s comments. She didn’t come right out and say "stick to sports," but she substituted it with "shut up and dribble."
"Must they run their mouths like that?" Ingraham asked. "Unfortunately, a lot of kids—and some adults—take these ignorant comments seriously. Oh, and LeBron and Kevin: You’re great players, but no one voted for you. Millions elected Trump to be their coach. So keep the political commentary to yourself or, as someone once said, shut up and dribble."
Ingraham finished her asinine argument by calling LeBron’s intelligence into question due to his lack of a college degree. "Look, there might be a cautionary lesson in LeBron for kids: this is what happens when you attempt to leave high school a year early to join the NBA," she said. "And it’s always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid a hundred million dollars a year to bounce a ball."
She's since released a statement on her response to LeBron and KD, which you can read in full below.
"In 2003, I wrote a New York Times bestseller called 'Shut Up & Sing,' in which I criticized celebrities like the Dixie Chicks & Barbra Streisand who were trashing then-President George W. Bush. I have used a variation of that title for more than 15 years to respond to performers who sound off on politics. I’ve told Robert DeNiro to 'Shut Up & Act,' Jimmy Kimmel to 'Shut Up & Make Us Laugh,' and just this week told the San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich to 'Shut up & Coach.' If pro athletes and entertainers want to freelance as political pundits, then they should not be surprised when they’re called out for insulting politicians. There was no racial intent in my remarks - false, defamatory charges of racism are a transparent attempt to immunize entertainment and sports elites from scrutiny and criticism. Additionally, we stated on my show that these comments came from an ESPN podcast, which was not the case - the content was unaffiliated with ESPN."
There were—sadly—some people out there who agreed with Ingraham’s take on things. But the vast majority of those on social media ripped her for deciding to go as far as she did. Eagles defensive end Chris Long may have had the best response for her when he rattled off a bunch of celebrities who have had their political opinions welcomed with open arms on Fox News despite having no real political backgrounds.
But he was far from the only one to roast Ingraham over what she said about LeBron and KD. Scroll down to see some of the best reactions to the controversy Ingraham caused.