President Donald Trump tweets thanks to Tiger Woods, Jim Brown

After a week that saw tumultuous legal and political troubles for the president, as well as the death of Senate icon John McCain and yet another mass shooting, President Donald Trump began Monday by venturing back into a bit of morning-drive sports talk.

This time, Trump didn’t take a side on the Jordan-vs.-LeBron debate. Rather, he expressed gratitude on Twitter to both NFL legend Jim Brown and Tiger Woods for, respectively, praising and not actively criticizing him in recent days. Let’s take a closer look.

Trump on Jim Brown: ‘You get it’

Jim Brown’s one of the most mercurial and strong-willed personalities in NFL history, attacking ideas the same way he once attacked defensive lines. As a young man, he stood in solidarity with Muhammad Ali when Ali refused to go to Vietnam; in recent years, he’s spoken out against NFL protesters. Last week, he mounted a full-throated defense of Trump on the syndicated JT The Brick radio show:

“I should be criticizing Trump on every level because he does certain things that call for criticism, but when I look at television I see all these announcers become experts and they’re pointing the fingers and they’re not doing a doggone thing but pointing their fingers, I find myself really pulling for the president,” Brown said. “Now, that would make me very unpopular in the black community, very unpopular with a lot of Americans … but I think that there are certain good things that are coming out of this presidency because we’ve never seen anything like it.”

Trump noticed:

Although Brown said he voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, he met with Trump shortly after the election and came away impressed. What that has to do with African-American employment is unclear, but Trump is correct; the unemployment rate for African-Americans is currently at its lowest point since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking it in 1972.

Jim Brown, Trump supporter. (Getty)
Jim Brown, Trump supporter. (Getty)

Trump on Tiger Woods: ‘He is very smart’

Over the weekend, Woods finished well off the lead at the Northern Trust Open. Woods has studiously stayed out of political matters, largely confining his political contacts to rounds of presidential golf. He and Trump have long been friendly through Trump’s golf course ownership, and after his round Sunday, a reporter decided to venture into Trump territory:

“At times, especially 2018, I think a lot of people, especially immigrants are threatened by him and his policy — what do you say to people who might find it interesting that you have a friendly relationship with him?”

“Well, he’s the President of the United States,” Woods replied. “You have to respect the office. No matter who is in the office, you may like, dislike personality or the politics, but we all must respect the office.”

Again, Trump noticed:

Despite what the president is trying to assert here, the question asked of Woods was a valid one; Trump is, by even the most generous estimation, a divisive president, and any public figures aligning themselves with him (yes, yes, or with any president before him) deserve the question of how much of the president’s policies they endorse.

Granted, you can quibble with the timing of the question; Woods shot down a clumsy followup attempt, an overly broad question about race relations, by saying he’d just finished 72 holes of golf and wanted to get something to eat. That was probably wise; it’s tough to navigate current political waters with months of preparation, much less right after walking off a golf course.

As for what Woods “didn’t want to say”: well, if you’re looking to divine something from Woods’ bland different-strokes-for-different-folks words, it’s worth noting that he did speak at President Obama’s first inauguration.

(We’ll also scream this bit of commentary into the void: regardless of what you think of media as a whole, calling sports media “Fake News” is just absurd. Woods’ news conferences are broadcast and recorded, there for anyone to see on their own. And you can’t “fake” sports news; no matter how much the media might want, say, a Tiger Woods victory, the media can’t manufacture the 15 strokes out of thin air that Woods would need to win.)

So there you go. We look forward to the president’s breakdown of the baseball pennant race and preseason Super Bowl picks later this week.

Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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