(Reuters) – Toronto Raptors All-Star guard Kyle Lowry is the latest member of the National Basketball Association community to blast U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration, describing it as “absolute bullshit.”
Lowry, Raptors president Masai Ujiri and head coach Dwane Casey pulled no punches on Monday when asked about the executive order by Trump to halt the U.S. refugee program and temporarily bar citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
“Our country is a country that’s the home of the free and for that to happen, I think it’s bullshit,” U.S.-born Lowry told reporters. “I’m not going to get into it too deeply but personally I think it’s bullshit.”
For Nigerian-born Ujiri, who has worked with the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program and is also president of a foundation that runs basketball camps for young players in Africa, it was even more personal.
“I just don’t get it. This is mind boggling,” said Ujiri. “I’m a prime example of what opportunity is. Canada gave me opportunity. America gave me opportunity. That’s what this world is about.”
By executive order on Friday, Trump banned immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries – Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen – and temporarily halted the entry of refugees.
For the Raptors’ Casey, who grew up in Kentucky during the civil rights movement of the 1960s, he was concerned the actions by Trump could be a slippery slope.
“It’s scary because it kind of reminds you about what happened back in the ’60s, when I was growing up,” said Casey.
“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.”
Others from the NBA community to speak out against Trump’s order in recent days include NBA championship-winning coaches Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors and Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs as well as a number of players including Brooklyn Nets Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who is Muslim.
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Frank Pingue)