Pro athletes stand up against Muslim and Refugee Ban

Many professional athletes and coaches have spoken out about the U.S. Muslim and refugee ban. Here’s an ongoing roundup of  what they have had to say.


Kyle Lowry discusses Muslim and refugee ban

Athletes are constantly admonished to “shut up and play” and often have a lot to lose by making their voices heard on political issues. It’s commendable that many have spoken up so eloquently and passionately against this racist ban. We need more and more of them to to add their own voices of protest. I’ll be adding their comments here as they do.

Also, where are the baseballers? And I don’t mean Aubrey Huff. [Note: saw that I overlooked Sean Doolittle and that Brandon Morrow had retweeted this and this and this. And Dexter Fowler has now spoken up as well].


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar:

“Trump’s recent executive order to bar citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries has resulted in Muslim-Americans feeling as if we’re now trapped in a menacing haunted house battling a powerful but irrational specter. There is no escape, nowhere to hide, no one believes us when we tell them about the horrible noises (“Grab them by the pussy”), and no help from the authorities is coming because they’re already possessed and mindlessly doing the creature’s bidding.” Link

Husain Abdullah, former NFL safety:

“In the event I was given the opportunity to speak freely to an attentive Donald Trump without interruption I’d like to say: ‘Stop the unconstitutional ban and rethink your strategies on keeping America safe. Ostracism leads to animosity and that animosity will produce hate. That hate will emanate both domestically and internationally which would give the adverse effect of what you intend to do, keep America safe. The President of the United States of America is the highest public service office in the world, a servant to the people. You must serve the public as a whole and not yourself nor only those who share and support your view points. Again, the ban is unconstitutional and must end immediately.'”­­ Link

Michael Bradley, Toronto FC Captain and U.S. men’s national soccer team captain:

“I gave an answer where I tried to make it clear that while I understand the need for safety, the values and ideals of our country should never be sacrificed. I believe what I said, but it was too soft. The part I left out is how sad and embarrassed I am. When Trump was elected, I only hoped that the President Trump would be different than the campaigner Trump. That the xenophobic, misogynistic and narcissistic rhetoric would be replaced with a more humble and measured approach to leading our country. I was wrong. And the Muslim ban is just the latest example of someone who couldn’t be more out of touch with our country and the right way to move forward.” Link

Enes Canter, Oklahoma Thunder:

“I am still in disbelief about the #MuslimBan ‘NO’ human should be discriminated for their Race, Religion or Ethnicity. #WeAreAmerica” Link

Dwane Casey, Toronto Raptors Head Coach:

“I’m old. It’s scary because it kind of reminds you about what happened back in the ’60s, when I was growing up. Even though it’s different issues, it resembles that in a lot of different ways. A little bit more sophisticated, but it’s similar. And it’s a slippery slope. For every action, there’s a cause and effect and a reaction by other people, so we have to be careful. Again, I’m a U.S. citizen, a proud U.S. citizen, but we have to be careful how we’re handling our business in the States.”

“The whole world right now, we all have to be conscious of each other and be sympathetic to each other.”

“Our nation, the U.S. is a nation of immigrants. Everybody’s there from somewhere else. And we have to be careful. I’m sure there’s certain … people who shouldn’t be in the country, or this country, or whatever country. But just to put a blanket ban over a lot of Muslim countries that we have no issues with, we have to be careful. We have to have a plan.”


Luol Deng. Los Angeles Lakers:

“I am a #ProudRefugee. I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for the opportunity to find refuge in a safe harbor. for the people of South Sudan, refugee resettlement has saved countless lives, just as it has for families all over the world escaping the depths of despair.”

“It’s important that we remember to humanize the experience of others. Refugees overcome immeasurable odds, relocate across the globe, and work hard to make the best of their newfound home. Refugees are productive members of society that want for their family just as you want for yours. I stand by all refugees and migrants, of all religions, just as I stand by the policies that have historically welcomed them.” Link

Sean Doolittle, Oakland A’s Pitcher:

“These refugees are fleeing civil wars, terrorism, religious persecution, and are thoroughly vetted for 2yrs. A refugee ban is a bad idea…” Link

Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR driver:

“My fam immigrated from Germany in 1700s escaping religious persecution. America is created by immigrants.” [To a Muslim NASCAR fan in Indonesia] Link

Mo Farah, Olympic Gold Medalist Runner:

“On 1st January this year, Her Majesty The Queen made me a Knight of the Realm. On 27th January, President Donald Trump seems to have made me an alien.
I am a British citizen who has lived in America for the past six years – working hard, contributing to society, paying my taxes and bringing up our four children in the place they now call home. Now, me and many others like me are being told that we may not be welcome. It’s deeply troubling that I will have to tell my children that Daddy might not be able to come home – to explain why the President has introduced a policy that comes from a place of ignorance and prejudice.”

“I was welcomed into Britain from Somalia at eight years old and given the chance to succeed and realise my dreams. I have been proud to represent my country, win medals for the British people and receive the greatest honour of a knighthood. My story is an example of what can happen when you follow polices of compassion and understanding, not hate and isolation.” Link

Dexter Fowler, St. Louis Cardinals Outfielder:

Not “the right time” to travel. “It’s huge. Especially anytime you’re not able to see family, it’s unfortunate,”” Link

Ryan Harris, Pittsburgh Steelers Offensive Lineman:

“Hate crimes have been escalating since the election. Even here in Denver, reported swastika graffiti has increased. These are things that we understood from the language that some of our elected officials use and have used. This is exactly from the playbook of hatred and divisiveness. But I believe, and others I spend my time with, believe in the love of another human being and continue to support others who are marginalized.”

“But I’ve began to understand hatred in a different way, especially in the last year. I realized that people have hatreds that they grew up with, prejudices they grew up with, and then they find out that prejudice is really unfounded and they begin to hate themselves for it. And that comes out as even more anger and hate overall. But I think that’s also part of the process of them coming to forgive themselves for their prejudices and just joining solidarity with people who are different from you.” Link

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Brooklyn Nets:

“We try to teach people not to point the finger, blame a whole [group]. You can’t judge a whole group by one’s actions at the end of the day. And I feel like that’s not right. That’s definitely not right. You can’t speak for all Muslims, because all Muslims’ hearts aren’t like that. Most of them are pure, really believe in a different way and a different livelihood.”

“This is kind of hard. My bad. This is kind of touching … just being a part of that community and a part of that family, I feel like this should definitely be handled differently, and I feel like more people should definitely speak up and act on it just because it’s BS at the end of the day.”


LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers:

“I am not in favor of this policy or any policy that divides and excludes people.”

“I stand with the many, many Americans who believe this does not represent what the United States is all about. And we should continue to speak out about it.”


Magic Johnson, former NBA star:

“We have a lot of great Muslim brothers and sisters who are here and doing a wonderful job of being great Americans. It’s not just them, [he] wants to send Latinos back home and build a wall to keep people out. It’s just not who we are as Americans…It’s just not a good time, and he’s gotta learn that you can’t just be a dictator.” Link

Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors Head Coach:

“As someone whose family member was a victim of terrorism, having lost my father, if we’re trying to combat terrorism by banishing people from coming to this country, by really going against what supposedly our country’s about and creating fear, it’s the wrong way to go about it.”

“If anything we could be breeding anger and terror, so I’m completely against what’s happening. I think it’s shocking,”

“It’s a horrible idea and I really I feel for all the people who are affected, families are being torn apart and I worry in the big picture what this means to the security of the world. It’s going about it completely opposite. You want to solve terror, you want to solve crime, this is not the way to do it.””


Shahid Khan, Jacksonville Jaguars Owner:

“The bedrock of this country are immigration and really a great separation between church and state.”

“Even for the country, it’s not good [the order could deny entry to some of] the tens of thousands of people who can contribute to the making of America. Kind of a sobering time for somebody like me”


Chris Kluwe, former NFL punter:

“Oh, and sports reporters, if you could ask Brady and Belichick if they support their pal Trump’s Muslim ban, that would be fantastic.” Link

“Trump has done more in the last week to radicalize terrorists than Bin Laden was able to accomplish his entire life.” Link

Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors:

“I think it’s bullshit. I think it’s absolute bullshit,” Lowry said. “Our country is the country of the home of the free. For that to happen is bullshit. I won’t get into it too deeply but personally I think it’s bullshit.

“Y’all have to bleep that out. That’s how I feel about it. If you use it, you use it. I’m sure you can bleep it out.”

“I don’t like it. I think it’s something that, our nation, the US is a nation of immigrants. Everybody’s there from somewhere else. And we have to be careful… Just to put a blanket ban over a lot of Muslim countries that we have no issues with, we have to be careful.”

“It’s scary because it kind of reminds you about what happened back in the 60s, when I was growing up. Again, I’m a US citizen, a proud US citizen, but we have to be careful how we’re handling our business in the states.” Link

Alex Morgan, Olympic gold medalist and FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion:

“I am in shock and disbelief over #MuslimBan. Has history not taught us anything???” Link

Steve Nash, former NBA Point Guard:

“Thoughts are with all those affected directly by the Muslim ban. Proud of those speaking up, looking out for the innocent people affected.” Link

Ibtihaj Muhammad, Olympic Bronze Medalist Fencer:

“Our diversity makes our country strong #NoBanNoWall” Link

Nazr Mohammed, longtime NBA player:

“It’s a tough day when u find out that so many ppl that u thought were fans or friends really hate u and everything u believe in.” Link

Brent Barry, Muhammed’s former Spur’s teammate responded:

“You know I love you, you are my brother; Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” Link

Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs Head Coach:

“As you already know, I have lots of thoughts about what we’ve done to ourselves as a country and what we’ve allowed to happen. But we’ll see where this goes. Obviously the roll-out today was Keystone Kops-like by any measure with objectivity. Whether you want to say it’s good or bad is irrelevant. But it was Keystone Kops, and that’s scary.” Link

Megan Rapinoe, Seattle Reign FC and U.S. National Team:

Travel day tomorrow trying to do my part. To stay silent is to stand with the oppressor. #nomuslimban That isn’t my America. Link

Ronda Rousey, Mixed Martial Artist (MMA):

“The plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty reads: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” #resist *Offer May vary” Link

Becky Sauerbrunn, FC Kansas City, Olympic gold medalist and FIFA Women’s World Cup champion:

Soccer, more often than not, helps to unite the world, what this Muslim ban is doing is dividing it. Separating “Us” and “Them” to another degree, adding more division to a country that already struggles with race, religion, sexual orientation, and gender. When I represent my country on the field I do so with heartfelt gratitude to the people who fight for and defend our fundamental freedoms—to believe in whatever I want, to love whoever I want, and to be a valued member of society while doing so. That’s the America I play for. I play for the America that embraces refugees from war-torn nations, for the America that welcomes all people who want the chance to experience the American Dream, for the America that appreciates the contributions from all the people it shelters. This Muslim ban is un-American—a betrayal of the values that make this country great. We can, we must be, we are better than this.



Breanna Stewart, Seattle Storm

“My first protest was really inspiring – to be alongside such a diverse group of people who care about other humans!


Masai Ujiri, Toronto Raptors president

“I think it’s just ridiculous what’s going on out there. This is mind-boggling. I’m a prime example of what opportunity is. Canada gave me opportunity. America gave me opportunity. That’s what this world is about.”

“Even in Basketball Without Borders, we have kids that come from all over the world. So, what does that mean? That we are lying to those kids by giving them hope, when teaching them?”


Stan van Gundy, Detroit Pistons coach

“Now we’re judging people by their religion – trying to keep Muslims out. We’re getting back to the days of putting the Japanese in relocation camps, of Hitler registering the Jews. That’s where we’re heading.” Link

Let me know if there are any I’ve missed or as new athletes speak up here or on Twitter: @darrenpuscas


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