President Donald Trump took a break from his daily Twitter rants to weigh in on the NFL Draft, although he’s catching heat for praising one athlete over another.
On Saturday, Trump tweeted a congratulatory message to Nick Bosa, 21, for being the second overall pick in the NFL draft. Bosa, a former defensive end from Ohio State University, was chosen by the San Francisco 49ers during Thursday night’s first round of the highly anticipated draft.
“Congratulations to Nick Bosa on being picked number two in the NFL Draft,” Trump wrote. “You will be a great player for years to come, maybe one of the best. Big Talent! San Francisco will embrace you but most importantly, always stay true to yourself. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
Critics couldn’t help but notice, however, that the POTUS made no mention of Kyler Murray, the African-American Heisman Trophy winner who was the league’s first overall pick. The former University of Oklahoma quarterback went to the Arizona Cardinals and reportedly already has been offered a $35 million contact.
Murray is also an accomplished baseball player and was drafted ninth overall in the 2018 Major League Baseball draft, making him the first athlete to be drafted in the first round of both the NFL and MLB.
These accomplishments apparently weren’t tweet-worthy enough for the president, who piled on the praise for Bosa instead. It wasn’t long before critics hit Trump with a few words of their own.
“Racism is a mental illness…,” one Twitter user wrote.
Another user pointed out that Trump had also recently ignored “America’s Teacher of the Year (normally a yearly event) — who happens to be black. Now he ignores the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft who happens to be black. My finely tuned radar is sensing a pattern here.”
“Trump praising the #2 draft pick – who is white and has attacked Kaepernick, Beyoncé, and Black Panther – while overlooking the #1 draft pick, Kyler Murray, who won the Heisman Trophy, is not a ‘dogwhistle.’ It’s the N-word flashing from a billboard on top of the White House,” author Steve Silberman tweeted.
USA TODAY reported that the former Buckeye and Trump are avid fans of each another. Bosa has been a vocal supporter of the president on social media and once referred to him as the GOAT, or “the greatest of all time.”
Much like Trump, the 21-year-old has also come under fire for his online activity, which included criticisms of Marvel’s blockbuster movie “Black Panther,” R&B superstar Beyoncé and former 49er Colin Kaepernick. In one tweet, Bosa referred to Kaepernick — who made headlines after taking a knee during pregame performances of the national anthem to protest racial injustice — as a “clown.”
He later apologized for the remark, saying: “It wasn’t directed towards (Kaepernick’s stance). It’s not like I’m saying his stance and what he was doing, that’s not what I was calling or talking about at all. It was just a specific thing that happened and me as a young kid a thought popping in my head and boom, decided to tweet it out. Bad decision. I respect what he’s done. If it empowers anybody then he’s doing a good thing. So, I apologize for that.”
Bosa has since deleted those posts, but some of his problematic “likes” and “retweets” still linger on the web. Ahead of Thursday’s draft, the athlete told ESPN he’d scrubbed his social media of some of his more political posts for fear that he wouldn’t be fully embraced by San Francisco, should he be drafted there.
“I had to,” Bosa said at the time. “There’s a chance I might end up in San Francisco.”