More Sports:

June 02, 2020

Sixers' Ben Simmons calls President Trump 'cowardly'; Phillies' Harper says 'love everyone equally'

Sports stars weigh in on civil unrest as Justice for George Floyd protests continue

Sixers NBA
Ben-Simmons_022420_usat Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons.

Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons had strong words for President Donald Trump in the aftermath of Monday's address in the Rose Garden, where the president vowed to have law enforcement "dominate the streets" amid ongoing protests across the country.

As a tense scene unfolded outside the White House, Trump said demonstrators demanding justice for George Floyd will soon see a tougher response. Floyd, an unarmed black man, died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25. Four police officers were fired in the days after his death, including Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

"We are ending the riots and lawlessness that has spread throughout our country. We will end it now. Today, I have strongly recommended to every governor to deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers that we dominate the streets," Trump said.

Later in his speech, the president threatened to utilize the 1807 Insurrection Act to deploy the U.S. military against rioters.

Simmons, an Australian native, tweeted after midnight Tuesday condemning the president's stance toward the protests.

Numerous Philadelphia athletes — including Eagles Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz, Jason Kelce and Jake Elliott — have issued statements in support of racial equality over the past week.

A similar message came last night from Phillies star Bryce Harper.

View this post on Instagram

I’ve been trying to come up with words for this post. Trying to write the right things and trying to get my mind and heart wrapped around this. I grew up on the East Side of Las Vegas around many different cultures knowing one thing — My parents taught me to love everyone equally, regardless of the color of their skin, where they came from, young or old. Our Heavenly Father made us this way, as unique individuals, so we would all come together and do everything we could to get back to him one day. To love one another, to build each other up, to root for one another, and to be ONE with each other. I will never know what it is like to be an African American man, woman, or child. The one thing I do know is I will always stand with them and for them. I will always be there when they need me. I will always have their backs, knowing they have always had mine. I will love my brothers and sisters and will teach my son to love all as well. To the Floyd family, and to all the other families that have experienced trauma, loss of life, inequality, racism, and hatred - I am so sorry for that. This world that we live in should have no room for it. We as Americans have to come together and stop this in all walks of life. I will listen, speak up, love, stand, and act for what I believe is right. I will never stop!! I love you all my brothers and sisters! We are ONE!✊🏻✊🏼✊🏽✊🏾✊🏿

A post shared by Bryce Harper (@bryceharper3) on


"I will never know what it is like to be an African American man, woman, or child. The one thing I do know is I will always stand with them and for them. I will always be there when they need me. I will always have their backs, knowing they have always had mine," Harper wrote. "I will love my brothers and sisters and will teach my son to love all as well. To the Floyd family, and to all the other families that have experienced trauma, loss of life, inequality, racism, and hatred - I am so sorry for that. This world that we live in should have no room for it. We as Americans have to come together and stop this in all walks of life."

President Trump on Wednesday targeted Philadelphia specifically, calling the city "a mess" during a video teleconference with governors across the country.

"Philadelphia, you'd better toughen up," Trump said on the call. "Because what's going on in Philadelphia ... is terrible. It's terrible. You'd better toughen — (the protesters) will never leave."

Mayor Jim Kenney fired back on Monday.

"The president should know a mess when he sees one, because he is a mess," Kenney said. "He's brought no help. Nothing. All he knows how to do is tweet and create division. It's enough. It's really enough."

Videos