From the November 21 edition of MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin:
CRAIG MELVIN (HOST): What does the president stand to gain by feuding with the sports community, Dave Zirin?
DAVE ZIRIN: Well, first of all, let's be clear, Craig. He feuds with black dissenters within the sports community. And Donald Trump does this for two reasons. One, I think we have a lot of evidence to say that racism comes to him like a tick, like an instinct, like someone hitting his knee with one of those hammers at the doctor's office. And second, it absolutely thrills his bases even though we know what they would say if any other president, maybe Republican or Democrat, demanded thanks for freeing somebody from a Chinese prison.
It's really so outrageous. It also needs to be said, Craig, that this is a very old playbook in terms of attacking well-known black athletes. I can cite you stuff going back to Jack Johnson through Jackie Robinson through Muhammad Ali to Colin Kaepernick. They are a very good target for people who play this game of divide and distract for the simple reason that black people in the United States, when they are big in the world of sports, they have a huge cultural platform, and they become these symbols of resentment for people who say, “well, why do they have all that money? Why do they have all that fame?” As if they haven't worked so hard their entire lives to achieve this precipice. So, it becomes this thing where you target, you demonize, you distract. It's a playbook that goes back 100 years. So, Trump is doing nothing new. It's tired and it's wrong.