NBA star LeBron James said after he and other players knelt for the national anthem during the first game of the league’s restart of its season that he hopes former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick is “proud” of them.
“I hope we made Kaep proud,” James said after his Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Los Angeles Clippers Thursday night in a game that began with every player kneeling for the national anthem while donning “Black Lives Matter” T-shirts.
“Kaep was someone who stood up when times wasn’t comfortable, when people didn’t understand. People refused to listen to what he was saying,” James said.
“It had absolutely nothing to do about the flag,” he said. “He explained that, and their ears were closed. People never listened. They refused to listen. And I did, and a lot of people in the black community did listen to him. And we just thank him for sacrificing everything that he did.”
LeBron James on kneeling during the anthem to protest systemic racism: “I hope we made Kaep proud.” LeBron then explains his gratitude for the military pic.twitter.com/FHYWyD06Hm
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) July 31, 2020
Players across the NBA and Major League Baseball have taken a knee for the national anthem in a move they say pays tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement and speaks out against social injustice. The form of protest was first popularized by Kaepernick, who started taking a knee in 2016 while playing for the San Francisco 49ers to protest racial inequality and police brutality.
President Trump has been a vocal critic of the anthem protests dating back to its origins, claiming they are disrespectful to the flag and those who have fought for the country. He also said that he wouldn’t watch baseball again if players took a knee for the anthem, which they did during the opening week.
“Looking forward to live sports, but any time I witness a player kneeling during the National Anthem, a sign of great disrespect for our Country and our Flag, the game is over for me!” the president tweeted in late July.
Looking forward to live sports, but any time I witness a player kneeling during the National Anthem, a sign of great disrespect for our Country and our Flag, the game is over for me!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 21, 2020
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