David West has demonstrated during national anthem for years

Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP
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The strangest part of Colin Kaepernick’s national-anthem protest is nobody noticing the first two games he did it.

That nobody noticed wasn’t particularly strange. Some “patriotic” people didn’t start taking the Star Spangled Banner as seriously until Kaepernick “disrespected” it.

But if Kaepernick is trying to raise awareness of an important issue – the oppression of black people in America, including by the police – why let his protest go unnoticed? That doesn’t get the message out.

I have a similar question for NBA veteran David West.

Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated:

David West was last in line while standing about 2 feet behind his new Golden State Warriors teammates during the playing of The Star Spangled Banner before their preseason opener Saturday.

While the rest of the Warriors players stood in line across the court, as usual, West’s actions could have been perceived as the latest athlete protest of the national anthem following San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s move. West told The Undefeated, however, that he actually has been last in line and standing just behind his teammates during the national anthem for years. It just went unnoticed as West says his personal stance is about issues “a lot deeper” than just the major one Kaepernick is raising.

West expounded on his stance today. Anthony Slater of the San Jose Mercury News:

West is spot on. There are too many people who don’t view blacks as fully human – deserving of the same rights and protection under the law as every American. Changing that attitude is necessary (though not sufficient) for fixing these societal problems.

A good step is listening to West explain how he has to talk to his 7-year-old son about racism, because he looks 11. Black children are systematically perceived to be older than they are, which – among other things – makes them more likely to be treated harshly by the police, arrested and tried as adults. That problem is only intensified for the son of 6-foot-9 West.

I’m still confused by West’s method, which is why I put “demonstrated” rather than “protested” in the headline. But the most important part is his message, and he’s getting it out now.