LeBron James will stand for national anthem, respects right to protest
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio– LeBron James said he will stand during the national anthem.
The power forward was asked about the issue of protesting the national anthem and police relations during Cavaliers media day on Monday.
San Francisco 49ers back-up quarterback Colin Kaepernick started a wave of athletes kneeling during the “Star Spangled Banner” last month.
“I’m all in favor of anyone, athlete or non-athlete, being able to express what they believe in in a peaceful manner, and that’s exactly what Colin is doing and I respect that,” James said. “You have the right to voice your opinion, stand for your opinion. And he’s doing it in the most peaceful way I’ve ever seen someone do something.”
The NBA Finals MVP said he doesn’t like the negative attention Kaepernick is getting.
The NBA, which has a rule requiring athletes stand for the anthem, and the players’ association sent a letter saying they are working to take “meaningful action.” Cavs general manager David Griffin said he’s honored to be a part of a league that’s committed to change. He praised commissioner Adam Silver and union executive director Michele Roberts.
“Far too much is being made of what form of non-violent protest someone chooses to implement and not nearly enough is being paid to the actually issues that spawned that outrage,” Griffin said.
The GM said he will talk to the team on how to handle the anthem protests and he is confident the players will come up with something “pretty inspired.”
LeBron made headlines when he joined Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade during the ESPY Awards this summer for commentary on police-involved shootings.
“For us, we stood up there understanding what the state America was in at that point in time and what our personal feelings were. We’re not politicians so we weren’t up there saying American is bad,” James told reporters on Monday. “America has done so many great things for all of us.”
James said it’s important to continue the conversation he started with his fellow NBA stars in July. He also said he’s encouraged by the NBA saying it wants to get out into more communities.
“I’m not up here saying all police are bad because they’re not. I’m not up here saying all kids are great and adults are great because they’re not. But at the same time all lives do matter. It’s not black or white.”
While admitting he doesn’t have all the answers, LeBron also said it’s a difficult time to be the parent of a teen right now.
“You know, I look at my son being four years removed from driving his own car and being able to leave the house on his own. It’s a scary thought right now to think, you know, if my son gets pulled over. You know, you tell your kids, if you just apply and if you just listen to the police that they will be respectful and it will work itself out. Then you see these videos that continue to come out, it’s a scary, it’s a scary-a** situation that if my son calls me and says he’s been pulled over that I’m not that confident that things are going to go well and my son is going to return home.”