Cleveland Cavaliers star forward LeBron James vows to not join San Francisco 49ers second-string quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s “Star Spangled Banner” protests and intends to stand at attention during the playing of the national anthem during the 2016-17 basketball season.
James, the biggest name in basketball today and arguably in all of sports, said he respects Kaepernick’s right to speak out, but according to Fox Sports, he went on to say that standing for the anthem is “who I am.”
“I’m all in favor of anyone — athlete or not an athlete — being able to express what they believe in in a peaceful manner, and that’s exactly what Colin Kaepernick is doing, and I respect that. I think you guys know when I’m passionate about something I speak upon it.
Me standing for the national anthem is something I will do. That’s who I am. That’s what I believe in, 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 seen someone do something.
What I don’t like about the situation is the negative attention that’s been thrown upon him from certain people, because it’s not deserved.”
James is no stranger to using his sport to push a social message.
He donned a hoodie in honor of slain teen Trayvon Martin in 2012 and in 2104 the player wore an “I Can’t Breathe” t-Shirt during warmup sessions at NBA games. The phrase refers to the reported words said by loosie-cigarette salesman Eric Garner as New York City cops wrestled him to the ground in July of 2014. Garner died in police custody and his death sparked protests. More recently, James joined fellow players Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Paul to call for an end to gun violence during a segment of this year’s ESPY awards.
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