While the Los Angeles Lakers have struggled through the NBA restart, each seeding game has included a bigger story before tipoff. The Lakers have joined teams in kneeling and locking arms during the national anthem.
The NBA bubble has marked the first time players — and coaches — have not stood for the anthem, making it an even more powerful demonstration. Kneeling during the anthem has been a divisive issue in the United States.
“You really don’t have a response, because no matter what you do in life, there’s always going to be people that won’t agree with whatever you do,” LeBron James of the criticism he and players have received.
“You could go to a fast-food restaurant and go through the drive-thru and people will say, ‘Why didn’t you walk in to get your food?’ You can wear black and they’ll say, ‘Why didn’t you wear white?’
“No matter what you do in life, you’re always going to have people that will try to pick apart whatever you do. If you’re passionate and true and authentic to whatever your cause is, then it doesn’t matter. For me, I couldn’t care less about the naysayers. I’ve been hearing it for too long. I’ve been done caring about that.”
James additionally highlighted what he’s learned from Colin Kapernick and hoped the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback was proud of what the NBA was doing.
Social justice issues have been at the forefront of several media sessions the players have participated in, and so far they have done an excellent job of keeping the focus there.
Frank Vogel proud to kneel during anthem
Kneeling during the anthem has been a controversial topic since Kaepernick did it back in 2016.
As a form of non-violent protesting, several other athletes have adopted the action in an effort to bring awareness to racial inequality and police brutality and the NBA took it a step further during their restart.
Lakes head coach Frank Vogel made it clear he was happy to be part of the moment. “I was proud to do it, proud to support our players, proud to support the African-American community and proud to promote racial justice,” he said.
“We’ve got the greatest country in the world, but we’re flawed. Protesting the way we did is patriotic. Non-violent protests are patriotic. That’s what we learned from John Lewis. For me to be able to be a part of that, to support racial justice the way we did, I’m very proud to be a part of it.
“It’s not about disrespecting the flag or military. Nobody supports the military as much as the NBA with the programs we have. It was just something I was proud to be a part of.”
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