National Anthem singer takes knee before Kings game (video)

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
5 Comments

NBA players are locking arms during the national anthem, a tame gesture with the limited message of “unity” behind it.

But that does not mean NBA courts are devoid of more courageous protests.

Leah Tysee took a knee while singing the national anthem before last night’s Kings game.

Heather Peterson KFBK News Radio:

Listen to the passion Tysee sings with before denouncing her devotion to America. Also consider what Francis Scott Key meant when he wrote “land of the free” – the portion of the anthem Tysee knelt for.

Colin Kaepernick has turned kneeling during the anthem into a meaningful protest with a clear message behind it (though the cheerleaders kneeling behind Tysee to hold an American flag is just weird in this climate). Tysee further explained her stance:

Why I took a knee while singing the Anthem at a Sacramento Kings NBA game: This act embodies the conflict many of us feel. I love and honor my country as deeply as anyone yet it is my responsibility as an American to speak up against injustice as it affects my fellow Americans. I have sung the anthem before but this time taking a knee felt like the most patriotic thing I could do. I cannot idly stand by as black people are unlawfully profiled, harassed and killed by our law enforcement over and over and without a drop of accountability. I believe that the majority of police are good and are against this too and as a nation we all need to speak up. We should all be outraged and demand justice and an end to the brutality. Let’s look around our communities for those facilitating healthy interactions between law enforcement and communities of color and support. The sad reality is, as a white American I am bestowed a certain privilege in this nation that is not enjoyed by all people. Black families are having much different conversations with their children about how to interact with the police than white families. Let’s be honest. Until we can recognize that white privilege exists we cannot have a dialogue about race. Whether or not you can see if from your vantage point, there is a deep system of institutionalized racism in America, from everyday discrimination to disproportionate incarceration of people of color to people losing their lives at the hands of the police simply for being black. This is not who we claim to be as a nation. It is wrong and I won’t stand for it. #solidarity #pleasevote

It’s OK NBA players aren’t following Kaepernick’s lead. They are under no obligation.

But his movement still found its way onto an NBA court, and that speaks to its power.