ATLANTA -- Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said his players have the team's support to express themselves should they choose to do so.
The comments came amidst controversies surrounding President Donald Trump and the sports world. President Trump revoked an invitation to the Golden State Warriors to the White House after star player Steph Curry said he wouldn't attend.
LeBron James had harsh words for the president, tweeting, "U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain't going! So therefore ain't no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!"
Numerous NFL teams, including the Atlanta Falcons, staged protests during Sunday games after President Trump said team owners should "fire or suspend" players who kneeled during the national anthem.
At the Hawks' media day Monday, Budenholzer said the team had discussed the issues earlier in the day.
"At the end of the day, I think our players are incredible human beings and thoughtful," Budenholzer said. "I think we just encourage them to think deeply about what's happening in our country, to care deeply about not just what's happening, but about our country. I think if they do those two things...our country will be a better place. Our conversation will be in a better place. Most importantly they have my support, they have the organization's support to express themselves or not to express themselves in any way that they feel is important."
Hawks rookie John Collins said it was an "amazing" time to be in the NBA.
"Because when we look back at times like this we’re going to go, wow that was a lot for media, players, everybody around the NBA, the world really, to go through," Collins said.
The Hawks' first preseason game is Oct. 1. The regular season begins Oct. 18.