Will the National Anthem Protests Carry on to the NBA?


Now that the NFL season is in full affect, we’ve seen multiple big name players take a stand (or take a seat rather) to make a protest for social injustice and oppression in America. From Colin Kaepernick refusing to stand for the National Anthem, to Marcus Peters raising his fist during the anthem and Seattle Seahawks players locking arms during it as well. It’s only been one week of NFL play, but the league has gained more attention than any other sport with all of these protests by the players.

From the 1,696 players in the NFL, 68% of them are African-Americans, now that they’re no longer the minority in the NFL; it was imminent that multiple players would protest if one player opened the door for the rest of the league to take a stand. With 74% of NBA players being African-Americans, how will the NBA players translate the protest into the association next month?

Photo from Eurokulture

Photo from Eurokulture

Coming from the league that didn’t take Donald Sterling’s racist remarks very lightly [fined $2.5 million and banned from the NBA], this wouldn’t be the first time the NBA stood up for black rights and police brutality. After hearing Sterling’s racist comments in 2014, it took nearly 4 days for Sterling to be punished. The Clippers and the Heat both responded by wearing their warm up shirts inside-out in order “to obscure any team logo.”

When Eric Garner was wrongfully killed by the police that same year, his final words were “I can’t breath,” T-shirts of the quote had been made and were made famous across the country. The NBA responded with legends LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, as well as current players in the spotlight like Kyrie Irving and Derrick Rose wearing those T-shirts in warm ups to represent their empathy for the Garner family and for a change in the justice system.

Back-to-back MVP, Stephen Curry had weighed in his thoughts on the recent NFL protest into the media, when asked if he will sit for the Anthem this upcoming season, “I’ll most likely stand,” Curry said. Curry was clear that he understood what message Kaepernick and other players were trying to send, he later said, “I’ve been a part of certain conversations off the grid, and finding different ways to make our community better, especially for African Americans. And so, that’s not the way that I would do it, but I support him in his attempt to start a conversation or continue the conversation.”

Photo from ABC News

Photo from ABC News

It was one of the biggest highlights of the ESPYs this year, when NBA stars Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James all stood together in the award shows’s opening moments to address the awareness of the social injustice. It will be expected by the first week of the NBA season to see Carmelo Anthony do something big in his stance for equality and the social injustice in America. Anthony, who has held nothing back after Michael Jordan had never really spoken up about political issues in the past. Jordan finally made donations to Black Lives Matter and other groups trying to help make change, Anthony said, “About time that he stepped up.”

This problem in America needs to be taken seriously, and being an athlete with this much power, it’s important to help take a stand for everyone’s equality in the justice system; especially with how corrupt it’s shown it still is to this day. The question now isn’t who will protest in the NBA, but how will they protest? Many players may take a different approach instead of staying seated during the national anthem, some might raise a fist in the air during the national anthem or even make a pregame ritual in the huddle with correlation to social injustice that will make headlines. We will see some type of protest in the NBA this year, with almost 3/4 of NBA players being African-Americans, it will be inevitable to see more players from this league make a stand for change than the NFL and have more support than the NFL thus far as well.

Solving this issue won’t take a couple of weeks or a couple of months, it will take time and for, not just members of the black community to be ready for change, but all races and members of this country. The tip-off this year will be on October 25th, when LeBron James’s defending champion Cavaliers face Carmelo Anthony’s new look Knicks. The protests need to continue to be heard; and knowing the stance of Stephen Curry, LeBron James, and Carmelo Anthony, the power of the players in this league will cause huge pandemonium this season. Mark your calendars, because the NBA is in for a long season.


About Juwan M. Davis

Editor/Writer for NBALEAD. Born and raised in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Living in Los Angeles. Minnesota Timberwolves fan. Twitter: @JuwanMalikDavis

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