ESPN's Mike Wise: Trump is using “black athletes as a proxy for patriotism” 

Jim Sciutto: White NBA coaches critical of Trump “have not, to this point, been the target of the president's ire via Twitter”

From the November 20 edition of CNN's Wolf:

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JIM SCIUTTO (HOST): Donald Trump is venting his anger, and once again, for a familiar reason -- a perceived lack of credit. The president is tweeting criticism at three UCLA basketball players who were arrested for shoplifting in China and then released by Beijing, the president says at his request. But after the father of one of the players said he isn't sure the president actually did anything, Mr. Trump fired back that he, the president, should have left them there. To be clear, left three U.S. citizens jailed by an undemocratic U.S. rival.


APRIL RYAN: We've not heard this publicly before. This is a president – or any president is a fixer-in-chief, not a problem maker, but a fixer-in-chief. And politics may have played into the father saying what he said.

SCIUTTO: His own politics.

RYAN: Yeah, his own politics. But at issue for the president, who sits at this unique, lofty, and great perch, to say this -- and then, to drill down, yes, these were young African-American men. Shoplifting in any country is wrong. Any crime is wrong in any country because the penalties are much stiffer. But to say you’re going to leave an American, you don’t -- the military does not leave a soldier on the field. The president, any president, tries to bring someone home.


MIKE WISE: Two things. One, I think it’s almost -- anybody who knows about LaVar Ball, he's become the Marine One of helicopter parents in America. And it's sort of like the greatest troll of all time that's a helicopter parent happened to run into the greatest troll in American political life. It was almost like a predestined battle.

RYAN: Clash of the titans.

WISE: Clash of the titans. Clash of the Twitter titans, I guess. All this keyboard courage. But secondly, and I think April hit on the head -- the elephant in the room is race. And this is about the second or third time that the president has essentially used black athletes as a proxy for patriotism. He has done it in the NFL. He’s got this battle going with the Golden State Warriors and some members of the NBA. And it's amazing how sports is now part of the culture wars in America, and how Donald Trump either brilliantly unconsciously or consciously has inserted himself in that. 

SCIUTTO: And think of the sports voices who have been very critical of Donald Trump. Greg Popovich from the very next day after the election, and since then, Steve Kerr -- they're white. They have not, to this point, been the target of the president's ire via Twitter. 


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