Kushner says NBA players are ‘fortunate’ they can take night off

Jennifer Jacobs and Justin Sink

President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner said National Basketball Association players who postponed games to protest racial injustice in police shootings have the “luxury” to take a night off.

“The NBA players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they’re able to take a night off from work without having to have the consequences to themselves financially,” Kushner, who is a senior adviser in the White House, said in an interview with CNBC on Thursday. “So they have that luxury, which is great.”

The boycott that started with the NBA Wednesday spread across U.S. sports, encompassing the WNBA, Major League Soccer and some baseball players.

President Donald Trump's White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner walks to the West Wing on Friday, Aug. 14, 2020.

The Milwaukee Bucks sat out Game Five of their playoff series against the Orlando Magic Wednesday over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The NBA postponed the day’s other matchups. Baseball’s Milwaukee Brewers also staged a walkout Wednesday.

Shortly after his CNBC interview, Kushner elaborated on his remarks in an interview with Politico.

“What I’d love to see from the players in the NBA – again, they have the luxury of taking a night off from work, most Americans don’t have the financial luxury to do that,” he said. “It’s nice that they’re standing up for the issue, but I’d like to see them start moving into concrete solutions that are productive.”

Kushner said he planned to call Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James on Thursday. Players on the Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers, two of the best teams in the league, were reported by several outlets – including Sports Illustrated, NBC News and Yahoo News – to have voted Wednesday to end the season altogether.

Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, are themselves multi-millionaires, a fortune that sprung from their wealthy families. The couple said they had income between about $29 million and $135 million in 2018, while both worked in the White House, according to a financial disclosure. Trump said she had assets and income totaling between about $188 million and $786 million that year.