Jets' Blake Wheeler joins NFL, NBA criticism of Trump: 'Come on, Mr. President'

President Donald Trump made headlines for his sports talk to start the weekend, first encouraging NFL owners to "fire" any players who protest social injustice by kneeling during national anthems, then on Saturday rescinding an invitation to visit the White House for Stephen Curry and the NBA champion Golden State Warriors.

Now, in response, from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell deeming Trump's words "divisive" to longtime face of the NBA LeBron James saying Trump is a "bum" and that Curry didn't want to visit him anyway, teams and athletes across professional sports have countered the president's statements.

That includes the NHL's Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg Jets forward, who tweeted Saturday suggesting that Trump's statements were an attack on freedom of speech.

"It's the First Amendment to our Constitution. The first one!" Wheeler said. "Regardless of how it makes you feel individually, these are literally the principles the U.S. was founded on. Come on, Mr. President."

Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Brown chimed in as well, retweeting Saturday three different criticisms of Trump, including James' comments and an earlier tweet from Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, who said "the behavior of the President is unacceptable and needs to be addressed."

Trump has not directly addressed the NHL, but Brown has previously been outspoken about athletes' freedom not to "stick to sports," especially when, as Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron tweeted Saturday, the president doesn't "stick to politics."

The 27-year-old right winger told ESPN in August that "if everybody stuck to what they're supposed to do, we wouldn't have made the strides we made to get to where we are." And those comments came just weeks after Brown donated $1,500 toward the relocation of a Confederate statue in downtown Tampa, an effort endorsed by the area's three major professional sports teams. In September 2016, the Lightning forward also questioned whether Columbus Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella, in suggesting he would bench any player if they mimicked the national anthem demonstrations of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, would "only further prove Kap's point of oppression."

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