(JTA) — Jared Kushner criticized NBA players for boycotting their playoff games in response to the police shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, of Jacob Blake, a Black man.
“Look, I think that 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, a White House senior adviser and multimillionaire real estate developer, said Thursday morning in an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” appearing to mock the players. “So they have that luxury, which is great.
“Look, I think with the NBA, there’s a lot of activism, and I think that they’ve put a lot of slogans out. But I think what we need to do is turn that from slogans and signals to actual action that’s going to solve the problem.”
Kushner made his statement the day after the Milwaukee Bucks declined to take the court for their playoff game against the Orlando Magic. In the end, the league canceled the three playoff games scheduled for Wednesday night. NBA players then threatened to sit out the rest of the season. WNBA games also were canceled.
Kushner later told Politico that he would reach out to Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, a leader of the protest, to discuss the issue.
“If LeBron James reached out to the White House, or we could reach out to him, we’re happy to talk with him and say, ‘Look, let’s both agree on what we want to accomplish and let’s come up with a common pathway to get there,’” Kushner said, adding that he would reach out to James “today.”
Thursday night’s playoff games also were canceled, but reports said the players likely would return to play over the weekend. Protests also canceled several Major League Baseball games.