Blake Wheeler joined professional athletes speaking out about President Trump over the weekend, tweeting support for the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
It's the First Amendment to our Constitution. The First one!!— Blake Wheeler (@BiggieFunke) September 23, 2017
Regardless of how it makes you feel individually, these are literally the principles the US was founded on. Come on, Mr. President— Blake Wheeler (@BiggieFunke) September 23, 2017
The remarks came after Trump tweeted criticism of NFL players who take a knee during the national anthem in protest, saying team owners should “get that son of a bitch off the field” when it happens. He also rescinded an invitation to NBA champions Golden State Warriors to the White House, after Stephen Curry and other players had said they were uncertain over whether they would go.
Wheeler told reporters on Monday why he decided to join with other professional athletes in criticizing the American president.
“I think for a lot of people, similar to my wife and I, it’s just kind of been a bit of a slow boil, the rhetoric, over and over. Just kind of, gone a little bit too far, a few too many times,” Wheeler said. “You know, it just felt right to, kind of, take a stance.”
Wheeler said the language Trump used referencing NFL players was “the last straw,” suggesting the right to carry out acts of free speech and protest is what “makes America a great country,” where “you’re allowed to stand up for what you believe in.”
Wheeler also said the conversation in the Jets locker room has changed, recently.
“In my years in the NHL, there hasn’t been a whole lot of political talk,” he said. “So, it’s nice to kind of see where guys are at. You learn a little bit more about guys than maybe you did before.”
Jacob Trouba offered his support for Wheeler’s choice to tweet.
“It’s not easy to take a stand, but it’s important to take a stand,” Trouba said. He went on to agree that athletes are being pulled into politics more recently than before, saying “but Donald Trump wasn’t president at that point,” and that Trump’s comments toward athletes have been “disrespectful.”