NFL star Colin Kaepernick stirred inspiration and courted controversy as he took a knee and hand on heart decided to not stand for the singing of the United States of America’s National Anthem this season.
Whilst some followed suit, not standing in solidarity, many were all too quick to point fingers of hate at a stand similair to the 1968 Olympic podium black power salute. Without asking why Kaepernick was still respectfully taking a knee but making a stand by not doing so.
He was doing it for the Black Lives Matter movement and all the African-American men who lost theirs to the senseless killings from some U.S. police officers. Like late, great boxing legend Muhammed Ali not declaring for the draft of the Vietnam war he was doing it for peace.
And during this Summer stand that the San Fransisco 49er still takes to the field every game many wondered how the stars and players of the NBA would respond or follow suit. In a league where the majority of the players are African-American and those who are not would also be impassioned and moved into showing a solidarity stand of unity.
And this preseason that’s exactly what we’ve seen happen.
Following stars from Derrick Rose to Kobe Bryant wearing ‘I Can’t Breathe’ t-shirts last season, NBA whole teams, not just individual players have made their stand during the National Anthem…together.
Recently the Boston Celtics and nations capital Washington Wiards franchises stood for the National Anthem heads bowed and arms linked in a brotherhood bond together. But last night before an exhibition game between the New York Knicks and the Houston Rockets it got real special and meaningful. As Knicks franchise player Carmelo Anthony and new free agent signing teammate Joakim Noah inspired the Knicks and James Harden’s Rockets to all stand together and link arms during the singing of the national anthem and the raising of the flag.
It was a beautiful moment orchestrated by Anthony and Noah as a choir of conducted children proudly sang “the land of the free” and “the home of the brave” perfectly. Carmelo has been instrumental in speaking out and standing up for social issue. Most recently standing with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul in all black suits for a soulful speech about coming together at the ESPY awards. Tears of inspiration haven’t been shed like that since the late, great broadcaster Stuart Scott stood proudly in the face of cancer and took his lifetime achievment.
The Knicks and Rockets stood together much like the womens U.S. national basketball team and Japan’s one for that postgame group photo during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in Brazil. But respectfully this during the anthem meant so much more. It was a peaceful protest with all due respect that still stood for and meant something. The Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. will be smiling proudly from above. Come the NBA’s tribute to him in January on MLK day expect more hand on heart, head bowed to show respect.
But in this moment last night that surely will inspire every team to follow suit every game, this stand was for everybody. Those who have lost their lives, whether to law enforcement or for the flag itself. The veterans who have served and gone to war so we can live in peace. And also the police officers that do protect and serve the great nation of the United States.
Without taking anything away from what Kaepernick has started last nights stand together recognized and respected everyone and left all removing their hats with just one feeling that we all need…