John Angelos, the Orioles executive vice president and son of managing partner Peter G. Angelos, on Saturday condemned president Donald Trump's attacks on athletes and expressed support for those who use their platform in professional sports to advance their causes.
Angelos wrote: "In nearly 25 years as a sports executive and a lifetime spent as an American citizen I have never been so appalled by the abusive blood lust of my country's highest governmental office to defile my country's constitutional guarantees and selectively attack and demonize my country's people based on their exercise of our constitutional free speech rights.
"As a sports executive who merely performs in private in the front office while our great athletics perform on the field, in the front court, and in front of hundreds of millions of consumers as trusted spokespeople, philanthropists, corporate representatives and childrens' role models, as well as sports professionals, it is my honor to pledge unqualified support for the examples set by [Stephen Curry] and [Colin Kaepernick] and to express my undying opposition to the repulsive conduct of this administration, one that because of its own conduct and anti-American and anti-citizen abuse of its power should be repudiated, protested, and legally opposed on every front."
Angelos' messages come after a volatile 24 hours between the president and the professional sports world. On Friday night at a rally in Alabama, Trump said fans should leave the stadium if an NFL player protests during the national anthem, as dozens have already this season. He added that owners should fire players who protest.
"That's a total disrespect of our heritage. That's a total disrespect of everything that we stand for," Trump said. "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you'd say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He's fired."
On Saturday morning, Trump tweeted that the NBA champion Golden State Warriors were no longer invited for their customary White House visit because Curry, their star guard, was dragging his feet.
The Warriors were going to hold a team vote to decide whether to go through with the visit, but later Saturday released a statement saying the team would instead "constructively use our trip to the nation's capital in February to celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion — the values that we as an organization embrace."
Athletes across both sports have taken to Twitter on Saturday to hit back at the president's message, and Angelos joined them.
On Saturday night, catcher Bruce Maxwell of the Oakland Athletics became the first known player in Major League Baseball to take a knee during the national anthem before a game.
Previously, he has used his platform to decry inequality during the 2015 unrest in Baltimore after the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray following injuries sustained in police custody, which set off days of demonstrations all over the city, including near Camden Yards.