NBA Most Valuable Player Stephen Curry, who passed up the chance to represent the United States at the 2016 Olympics, has come out in support of 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his continued refusal to stand for the national anthem.
Kaepernick, who will be the second-string quarterback behind Blaine Gabbert to start the regular season, sat or knelt during the Star-Spangled Banner in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and its protests against police brutality.
In an interview with Sara Eisen of CNBC-TV, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, Curry defended Kaepernick’s freedom of speech — and went ever further: “There’s going to be people that disagree with him, there’s going to be people that agree with him, which is what I think our country stands for, which hopefully will drive the conversation to bettering the equal rights and treatment of African-Americans and people of color.”
He added that Kaepernick had donated $1 million to organizations involved in the movement. ““He’s putting his money where his mouth is and donating a million dollars to finding ways to better or to make his message a reality,” he said. “I hope that all resources and conversation and intellect across the country will be able to figure out a way to make that million dollars as powerful as it can be. He’s on the right track.”
The Chronicle also published a sympathetic interview with Kaepernick, in which he claimed “a lot of players” agreed with him on the issues. He also complained about “the oppression and culture we have here” in the NFL or the United States, “where if you don’t fall in line, we’re going to get you out.”
Kaepernick also said that he was grateful for President Barack Obama’s support: “I thought it was great that he came out and supported the mssage. That we do need to make changes in these area.”
He dispelled rumors that he had converted to Islam (though his girlfriend is Muslim and cannot, according to Islamic law, marry him). And he said that he would not have had qualms about protesting the anthem on September 11 (the 49ers play the following day), though “this isn’t a protest against men and women of the military.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.