The NFL Draft has been underway for a couple of days and President Donald Trump is apparently keeping an eye on the action in Nashville, Tennessee.
On Saturday morning, Trump used his favorite form of communication — Twitter, of course — to deliver a message to Nick Bosa, a defensive end from Ohio State who was selected No. 2 overall by the San Francisco 49ers earlier this week.
“Congratulations to Nick Bosa on being picked number two in the NFL Draft. You will be a great player for years to come, maybe one of the best,” Trump tweeted. “Big Talent! San Francisco will embrace you but most importantly, always stay true to yourself. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
The draft is a big deal in the United States, so it isn’t that out of bounds for the president to send a congratulatory tweet to a top pick. But why, you might be asking, did Trump single out Bosa, who is white, while ignoring all other draftees, including the No. 1 overall pick, Kyler Murray, who is black?
Well, it just so happens that Bosa is an outspoken Trump supporter who became the subject of controversy in the days leading up to the draft due to his history of racist and homophobic social media activity. He has referred to Colin Kaepernick as a “clown,” and insulted the film Black Panther and Beyonce. He has liked Instagram posts that include the n-word and homophobic slurs. He has called himself a “big fan” of Trump and liked a tweet that said, “Liberals really suck.”
Bosa deleted most of the posts in question before the draft, but not because he had a change of heart.
“I had to,” he told ESPN when asked why he removed the tweets. “There is a chance I might end up in San Francisco.”
Congratulations to Nick Bosa on being picked number two in the NFL Draft. 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 27, 2019
During his introductory press conference in San Francisco on Friday, Bosa attempted to distance himself from his social media history.
“I’m sorry if I hurt anybody. I definitely didn’t intend for that to be the case,” Bosa told reporters. “I think me being here (San Francisco) is even better for me as a person, because I don’t think there’s anywhere, any city, that you could really be in that would help you grow as much as this one will. I’m going to be surrounded with people of all different kinds, so I’m going to grow as a person. I’m going to be on my own. I’m going to grow up, I’m gonna learn a lot of new things. It’s exciting.”
He also attempted to spin his tweet calling Kaepernick a “clown” as a comment that wasn’t referring to Kaepernick’s decision to take a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality and systemic racism.
“It wasn’t directed toward that. It’s not like I’m saying his stance and what he was doing — that’s not what I was talking about at all,” he said. “It was just a specific thing that happened, and me, as a young kid, a thought popping into 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. I apologize for that.”
Trump infamously called Kaepernick and any other player who takes a knee during the national anthem a “son of a bitch.” He has a history of going after black athletes on social media, where he has attacked greats such as NBA players LeBron James and Steph Curry, and NFL running back Marshawn Lynch, for either not standing during the national anthem or for speaking out against Trump’s policies.
If Bosa is looking to move beyond the bigoted tweets from his past, Trump’s tweet in the present just made that pivot much more difficult.