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Mark Cuban Wonders if Trump Can 'Take the Blowback' After NFL Comments

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, tells his team they have the right to protest the national anthem. Photograph by Andrew D. Bernstein—NBAE/Getty Images

Dallas Mavericks owner and longtime Donald Trump critic Mark Cuban has joined a growing list of sports-team owners defending NFL players’ rights to share political views – and he’s openly questioning whether the president can withstand their dissent.

“If the president’s going to say something condemning a person, an industry, a sport, then he’s got to be able to take the blowback that’s going to come back,” Cuban said to NBC’s Meet the Press. “LeBron and Steph and any owner, it’s an open door now and so they have every right, for the same reasons, to be able to say whatever is on their mind. Now, we’ll be able to see if he can take it.”

Cuban was referring in part to Trump’s war of words with Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry and Cleveland Cavaliers legend LeBron James. The fight coincided with Trump’s criticism of NFL players who kneel during the national anthem as a gesture of protest against police profiling of African-Americans.

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James, in his response to the flap, called Trump a “bum” who lowered the prestige of his office.

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Cuban has been a relentless Trump critic, often targeting the president on a uniquely personal level. So his latest implication that Trump is better at dishing out criticism than taking it is no surprise.

In this case, though, Cuban and many other sports-team owners are speaking with one voice. Though Trump specifically called on owners to fire players who refused to stand for the national anthem, NFL head Roger Gooddell and the owners of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore Ravens, and New England Patriots have all affirmed support for their players.

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