Heat forward Justise Winslow says President Trump has ‘damaged’ honor of visiting the White House

Justise Winslow (back right) at White House in 2015 after Duke’s NCAA national tile.

MIAMI – Justise Winslow was honored to visit the White House, and President Barack Obama, two years ago after Duke won the NCAA basketball tournament.

Now, the Miami Heat’s third-year forward said he would refuse an invite to meet President Donald Trump if he had the opportunity.

“As a kid that’s something I dreamed about, winning the championship and going to the White House and I did it and it was such an amazing experience,” Justise said. “Now, it is damaged.

“If my time comes during his run I’ll probably also sit out. Hopefully one day it can be that honor that it once was. Hopefully I will be OK with going back one day.”

Trump attacked the NBA and NFL this weekend, withdrawing an invitation to the champion Warriors to visit the White House after learning that Stephen Curry was considering boycotting the trip and suggesting any NFL player who kneels during the National Anthem as a form of protest to racial injustices should be fired.

Trump referred to those players as “Sons of b——.”

“It’s like every time he opens his mouth. … it’s like, oh, really?” Heat captain Udonis Haslem said. “When you think you can’t say anything worse he just kind of figures it out. It’s unfortunate.

“We have freedom of speech in this country and those guys are exercising their right of freedom of speech. Whether he agrees with it or not you don’t get to name-calling. I felt that was a little too far. Let’s just try to stick together as a country. Stay on the right path and figure it out. Let’s not divide.”

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra called it a “disheartening” time and said the team would meet once they gather in Boca Raton for the start of training came Tuesday at Florida Atlantic University to discuss how they would handle any form of protest. Last season the Heat made a statement by locking arms during the national anthem

“I commend Golden State Warriors for the decision they made,” Spoelstra said. “I commend the NFL players and organizations for taking a stand right now for equality, for inclusion, for taking a stand against racism, bigotry, prejudice. These (types of protests) are all foundation, cornerstones of our great county. So it is disheartening to see right now the divisiveness.”

On Sunday, several NFL players, coaches and owners either knelt, locked arms or raised their fists in reaction to Trump’s comments. Some even refused to come out for the National Anthem. Cleveland’s LeBron James was the most outspoken NBA player on social media, firing back at Trump after his tweet about the Warriors and Curry.

“U bum (Curry) already said he ain’t going! So therefore ain’t no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver released the following statement regarding the Golden State Warriors not being invited to visit the White House:

“I was in favor of the team visiting the White House and thought it was a rare opportunity for these players to share their views directly with the President.  I am disappointed that that will not happen.  More importantly, I am proud of our players for taking an active role in their communities and continuing to speak out on critically important issues.”

Winslow, who is very socially aware, is offended by Trump’s tone.

“One of my biggest problems is the way he uses his platform, his language, I don’t think that’s how our president should be speaking, that vulgar tone,” he said. “And we saw that during his run for presidency, his character. I think that’s kind of where the problems start.”

Last season Winslow posted an image of himself on social media with a raised fist and the caption: We matter.

“Whether it’s a protest or bringing about change, people’s feelings are going to get hurt and that’s part of it, sadly,” Winslow said. “Black people’s, minorities in general, feelings have been hurt in this country for a very long time. So if we hurt some feelings, nothing violently, but if we’re protesting, raising awareness for a cause and someone’s feelings get hurt, so be it.”

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