Colin Kaepernick has created a lot of buzz with his decision to kneel during the national anthem. The backup quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers has explicitly said he’s not disrespecting the flag, nor the service men and women who fought for our First Amendment right. He just wants to bring attention to the injustices in our nation.
Kaepernick already has players throughout the NFL raising awareness, whether it’s kneeling, or raising their fists in the air. However, his stance is beginning to permeate the NBA and hits home with its players.
David Aldridge of NBA.com reported that several players in the league are going to follow in Kaepernick’s footsteps and execute gestures. It’ll get tricky for them, though. The NBA has a rule where all players and coaches must stand for the national anthem; the NFL doesn’t have that. Standing is encouraged, but no one is penalized for not doing so.
Furthermore, Aldridge also reported that Michele Roberts, the NBPA’s executive director, and commissioner Adam Silver sent letters out to NBA players “pledging cooperative events in coming weeks in several communities.”
Some of the NBA’s most revered players–Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Paul–have been relentlessly training to draw attention to the inequalities faced by minorities in our nation.
Before the ESPYs award show, the four superstars took the stage to deliver a short speech regarding the injustices taking place in black communities. It generated some chatter, but nowhere near what Kaepernick has.
Guys across the Association are backing Kaep vehemently.
Some of the guys responding to the actions of the 49ers QB include Iman Shumpert, who wrote a song titled His Story. In it, Shump has a line that read, “ya best believe Ima take me a knee for the anthem.”
On Genius.com, he annotated those two lines with the reason he wrote them:
Contrary to his lyrics, he won’t be kneeling for the anthem. Instead, he’ll be making donations, with both time and money, to “foundation(s) striding to improve the struggle between the badge and the citizens.” See the full statement below:
For each steal I’m going to donate money and time towards a foundation(s) striding to improve the struggle between the badge and the citizen. I challenge all sponsors and athletes to match these proceeds to contribute to the cause helping families affected by all the killings leaving families and communities traumatized. As big as an awareness Kap has raised by taking a knee and the bravery it took for so many to follow I also understand those that fought for that flag have nothing to do with whats going on in our society today and I no longer believe taking a knee is the answer. This news makes me sick and I am challenging myself to make a difference! #stealthefear #steal🔓fear #weprayforpeace
Another big name player, Jabari Parker, took to his Instagram a couple of weeks ago and showed support for Kaepernick:
Kaepernick is having an extremely profound impact on the nation right now, and he’s generating a lot of support and a lot of hate. It doesn’t look like he’s having much of an effect, but people are chatting about him and about the underlying cause of his protest.
More importantly, people are taking action on it.