NBA Players Must Continue to Take Active Roles in Fight for Change
Why did Colin Kaepernick first begin kneeling for the National Anthem?
Why has this become a trend that has spread rampant throughout the entire NFL?
More than ever before, we see players speaking out, making political statements, and using their platform to make their voices heard. Raising their fists to the air, locking arms, taking a knee. Silent protests with the objective of accomplishing one thing – racial equality.
Roberto Clemente is an MLB Hall of Famer. Widely recognized as one of the best hitters in baseball history, Clemente is remembered more for his work off the baseball diamond. His humanitarian relief efforts that have turned him into a household name in baseball circles. Today, the Roberto Clemente Award is handed out to the player who has used his platform to help the community the most.
Why do I bring up the late, great Clemente?
It’s really not for what he has done on the field, in fact, casual baseball fans know of the Roberto Clemente Award, but not Roberto Clemente and the phenomenal player he once was. My point here is, athletes have the platform to speak out, to create change, and to impact society. They are not pawns, they are not robots, they are not slaves, and definitely not inmates. With the platform they are granted, they have the opportunity to be remembered for more than just their job title.
Players should speak. They should not stay silent. The people who say they should keep their mouthes shut and just go about doing their jobs on the court don’t realize the impact professional athletes have on society. Just look at the mass amount of Stephen Curry, LeBron James, and Kevin Durant jerseys that you see on a daily basis.
“We know this is the greatest country in the world,” said James. “It’s the land of the free. But we still have problems just like everybody else and when we have those problems, we have to figure out a way how we come together and be as great as we can be as a people. Because the people run this country. Not one individual. And damn sure not him.”
Fact is, racism exists in America. There is racial divisions in the country and every time the President of the United States heads to twitter to rant on NFL players kneeling, he only emphasizes the need for something to be done.
It was never about disrespecting the American flag or the National Anthem. NFL players have been silently protesting, at no time disturbing the pre-game processions. While fans boo-ed players while the Anthem was being sung and Vice President Mike Pence walked out of a football arena during the anthem, the players were using their rights while respecting the flag and remaining silent.
And really, who is the Donald Trump to say what makes someone more American than another person? Fans at home sit on their couch texting while the anthem is played on television pre-game. The immigrants who Trump wants to deport know the constitution better than most of the Americans who have lived in the country for decades.
Does that mean these people born and raised in America are less American because they never needed to learn the constitution to acquire citizenship?
“I think the president brought a lot of this stuff on himself,” said Toronto Raptors star DeMar DeRozan. “He brought it on himself, he brought it on us as a country. … I feel no player is trying to disrespect anybody, no flag or anything like that, but we seem to be the ones who get all the disrespect from our so-called leader.”
While both players and coaches from around the league continue to make comments regarding the President, the goal must continuing being to promote equality through basketball and using their voices to fight for change.
“Look at what he’s doing with North Korea putting our troops in danger right now instigating a war,” Memphis Grizzlies Head Coach Dave Fizdale said. “You know how many troops we have in South Korea and Japan that’s in direct line with where this guy can fire missiles? Obviously the Gold Star family that lost their son … I can keep going on this, guys, you know that.
“So when we talk about disrespecting our military, people need to take a look back at who’s really disrespecting our military and who’s really honoring our military by exercising their rights.”
Following in the footsteps of NFL players, both NBA stars and coaches must continue speaking out.
“He doesn’t understand the power that he has for being the leader of this beautiful country,” James said of Trump. “He doesn’t understand how many kids, no matter the race, look up to the President of the United State for guidance, for leadership, for words of encouragement. He doesn’t understand that and that’s what makes me more sick than anything.”