Raptors president Masai Ujiri slams Trump over 's**thole' comment
Published Friday, January 12, 2018 8:56PM EST
Warning: This story contains vulgar language
Nigerian-born Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri has hit back against U.S. President Donald Trump for using a slur against African countries and Haiti.
Ujiri is the first African-born person to become general manager of a North American sports team.
He’s also known for founding Giants of Africa, a charity that uses basketball camps to help empower and educate youth. It was the subject of a 2016 documentary.
"This summer, I went to Kigali and Nairobi and Lagos, and I went to Kampala and Abidjan and Dakar and Johannesburg, and I saw great cities and great people," Ujiri told ESPN. "And I went to visit the refugee camp in Dadaab, and I met good people and good families with plenty of hope. If those places are being referred to as shitholes, go visit those places, and go meet those people."
"I don't think it's fair, and I don't think it's what inspiring leadership can be. What sense of hope are we giving people if you are calling where they live -- and where they're from -- a shithole?
During a meeting Thursday in the Oval Office, Trump reportedly asked why the U.S. accepted immigrants from Haiti and African nations – which he called “shithole countries.”
It was first reported by The Washington Post. On Friday, Trump denied using the “language.” But Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin, who was present at the meeting, told the Associated Press that Trump “said these hate-filled things and he said them repeatedly."
Ujiri said that leaders need give people opportunities for success, not “put those people down.”
"We have to inspire people and give them a sense of hope. We need to bring people along, not ridicule and tear them down. This cannot be the message that we accept from the leader of the free world,” he told ESPN.
"... Just because someone lives in a hut, that doesn't mean that isn't a good person, that that person can't do better, that person isn't capable of being great. And just because it's a hut -- whatever that means -- doesn't mean it's not a home. God doesn't put anyone someplace permanently. I am a living testimony to that. If I grew up in a shithole, I am proud of my shithole."