Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray was the first overall pick in the NFL draft on Thursday, but on Saturday morning, President Donald Trump decided to congratulate the number two pick instead.
Former University of Oklahoma quarterback Murray, who is black, was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals and reportedly offered a $35 million contact. He’s also an accomplished baseball player, and was ninth in the 2018 MLB draft.
However, on Twitter the President congratulated Nick Bosa, the second pick, who was chosen by the San Francisco 49ers.
“Congratulations to Nick Bosa on being picked number two in the NFL Draft,” Trump tweeted. “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!”
Bosa, who is white, has been criticized for releasing a number of tweets some have seen as racially charged. The tweets, which have since been deleted, describe Black Panther as the “worst Marvel movie”; describe Beyonce’s music as “trash,” and call former 49ers player Colin Kaepernick a “clown.” He was also criticized for “liking” many Instagram posts with racist and homophobic slurs.
Bosa has also previously expressed his support for Trump, tweeting that Reagan and Trump were “Goats,” meaning the “greatest of all time.”
After being drafted, Bosa apologized for his social media posts, telling reporters, “I’m sorry if I hurt anybody. I definitely didn’t intend for that to be the case. 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,” according to NFL.com.
Murray has also come under fire for writing prejudiced tweets. After the player won the Heisman Trophy, several tweets from 2012 emerged in which he used homophobic slurs. He apologized, writing, “I apologize for the tweets that have come to light tonight from when I was 14 and 15. I used a poor choice of word that doesn’t reflect who I am or what I believe. I did not intend to single out any individual or group.”
Trump has often offered praise to athletes who have vocally supported him, and shunned those who have spoken out against his presidency.
Earlier this month, Trump congratulated his occasional golf partner Tiger Woods on winning the Masters. Woods, when asked last summer about his relationship with Trump said, “He’s the President of the United States. You have to respect the office.” Which prompted Trump to attack the media for attempting to get Woods to “say something he didn’t want to say.”
The President has also been an open fan of the New England Patriots, often singling out owner Robert Kraft, Coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady. Kraft is a frequent guest of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club; during the 2016 campaign, Belichick wrote a letter to Trump praising his leadership; and Trump called Brady a “friend and a total winner” on Twitter.
The opposite appears to be true as Trump has lashed out at athletes who don’t seem to hold his presidency in high regard. When Steph Curry wavered on visiting the White House after the Golden State Warriors won the NBA championship in 2017, Trump publicly withdrew the invitation. This triggered an angry Twitter response from LeBron James.
Of course, Trump has very vocally spoken out against NFL players who choose to kneel during “The Star Spangled Banner” to bring attention to social injustice. San Fransisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began protesting the national anthem in 2016, and many players on other teams have joined him. The President has in the past used players’ protests as a chance to criticize the NFL.
Many football fans and Twitter users called out the President for praising Bosa over Murray.
“You do realize that another player went #1 overall in the draft, right ahead of Bosa, right?” tweeted user Ed Krassenstein.
A user with the handle @rocodeedee tweeted at Trump, “FYI: The first pick in the NFL draft, Kyler Murray, is the only player drafted in the first round of two major sports (MLB). I think that deserves a congratulatory message, but we all know why he won’t get it from you!”
Some users argued that Trump’s tweet was an indication of racism. User @ALiberalCatLady tweeted, “Congratulating the first white draft pick, and nothing to say about the first pick overall. #thisiswhywesayyoureracist #KylerMurray”