LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul made a statement denouncing the mistreatment of black and brown bodies and retaliatory violence.
Then, Colin Kaepernick took the civil discourse to another level by sitting and then kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutalizing black Americans.
Will LeBron – the most powerful player in the NBA – follow Kaepernick’s method of demonstration?
LeBron, via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:
“I think you guys know when I’m passionate about something I’ll speak up on it, so me standing for the national anthem is something I will do, that’s who I am, that’s what I believe in,” James said. “But that doesn’t mean I don’t respect and don’t agree with what Colin Kaepernick is doing. You have the right to voice your opinion, stand for your opinion and he’s doing it in the most peaceful way I’ve ever seen someone do something.”
“You see these videos that continue to come out, it’s a scary-ass situation that if my son calls me and said if he got pulled over, that I’m not that confident that things are gonna go well and my son is going to return home,” James said. “My son just started the sixth grade.”
“I don’t have the answer,” said James, who has a track record for speaking out when notable cases of police violence toward blacks occurs. “None of us have the answer, but the more times we can talk about it, the more times we can conversate about it. Because I’m not up here saying all police are bad because they’re not. I’m not up here saying that all kids are great and all adults are great, because they’re not.
“But at the same time all lives do matter. It’s not black or white, it’s not that. It’s everyone, so, it’s just tough being a parent right now when you have a pre-teen.”
To many – seemingly including LeBron – the national anthem (at least the verses we sing) represents what America aspires to be. Kaepernick and those who’ve followed his lead can’t overlook what America is.
Neither approach is wrong.
What’s important: We continue the conversation about police overreach and racism in America. The first step in fixing the problems are acknowledging that they exist.
Kaepernick has brought an incredible amount of attention to the issue. His protest is working.
LeBron will add to the cause in his own way, but Kaepernick kneeling opened the floodgates. Because of Kaepernick, LeBron was asked about this today, and his fears about his son interacting with police will be heard.