LeBron James and his Los Angeles Lakers teammates, along with players from the Los Angeles Clippers, Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans, knelt during Thursday’s national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality.
It was the first protest during the national anthem because Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf refused to run for “Banner with the Stars” in the 1990s when he played for the Denver Nuggets.
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The kneeling players followed a precedent from NFL free agent Colin Kaepernick, who started the storm in 2016 as he sat and knelt during the national anthem.
James said after the match, “I hope we were proud of Kapa,”; says USA Today.
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“Kap was someone who stood up when it wasn’t pleasant,” James added according to the Los Angeles Sentinel. “When people didn’t understand … it had nothing to do with the flag, he explained, and people never listened.” I made! We thank him for sacrificing everything he did. “
Players, coaches and referees have broken the long-standing rule in the NBA since the 1980s, requiring players to run for the national anthem. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver appears to have supported the players’ peaceful protest. He performed before the jazz and Pelican protests before their match.
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“I respect the united act of peaceful protest by our teams for social justice, and in these unique circumstances we will not enforce our long-standing rule requiring standing while playing our national anthem,” Silver told The New York Times.