LeBron James was proud of the NBA’s universal anthem protests during the first night of the league’s restart. What’s more, he hoped the protests made Colin Kaepernick proud.
Speaking to reporters after the Lakers victory over the Clippers, James tried to encapsulate what the night meant for him.
“I hope we made Kaep proud. I hope we continue to make Kaep proud every single day. I hope I make him proud with how I live my life, not only on the basketball floor but off the floor,” James said of the NFL’s original anthem protester. “I’ve been one to always speak out about things that I feel like is unjust. If I’m educated on things, I always go about it that way. So Kaep was someone who stood up when times weren’t comfortable, and people didn’t understand or refused to listen to what he was saying.”
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) July 31, 2020
James continued, “You go back and look at any of his postgame interviews when he talked about why he was kneeling, it had absolutely nothing to do about the flag, had absolutely nothing to do about the soldiers, the men and women that keep our land free. He explained that and the ears were uncomfortable. People never listened. They refused to listen. And I did. And a lot of my people in the Black community did listen. And we just thank him for sacrificing everything that he did to put us in a [situation where] today, even years later, to be able to have that moment like we did tonight.”
This is a lie, and if there was a shred of integrity left in the American media they would go back to Colin Kaepernick’s postgame interview and easily prove James to be a liar.
Colin Kaepernick never said his anthem protests weren’t about the flag. In fact, he said the exact opposite. In 2016, after he sat for the national anthem prior to a preseason game against the Packers, Kaepernick made it plain that his protest absolutely was aimed at the country and the symbols that represent it.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
There is no other way to interpret that. Though, while seeking to make the protests politically palatable to the masses, activists athletes and media were successful in making most people forget about Kaepernick’s words.
Then, as if any other proof was needed that Kaepernick despises his country and its flag, there was his Independence Day tweet from this year.
According to Kaepernick, America has “dehumanized, brutalized, criminalized + terrorized” blacks for centuries. He further called the celebrations commemorating the nation’s founding a “celebration of white supremacy.”
Black ppl have been dehumanized, brutalized, criminalized + terrorized by America for centuries, & are expected to join your commemoration of “independence”, while you enslaved our ancestors. We reject your celebration of white supremacy & look forward to liberation for all. ✊🏾 pic.twitter.com/YCD2SYlgv4
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) July 4, 2020
The NBA plans to allow players to wear social justice messages on their jerseys and run social justice ads during games, throughout the remainder of the season.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn