LeBron James fully supports Colin Kaepernick's kneeling protest against the over-policing of black and minority communities but adds that when the NBA season starts, he plans to stand for the national anthem.
“First of all, I’m all in favor of anyone—athlete or nonathlete—being able to express what they believe in in a peaceful manner,” James said before the Cleveland Cavaliers opened training camp, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
"That’s exactly what Colin Kaepernick is doing, and I respect that. I think you guys know that when I’m passionate about something, I speak upon it. Me standing for the national anthem is something I will do. That’s who I am. That’s what I believe in. But that doesn’t mean I don’t respect and don’t agree with what Colin Kaepernick is doing.”
James added: "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. What I do not like about the situation is the negative attention that’s been thrown upon him from certain people, because it’s not deserved. He was very educated, very smart, very candid and very demanding about what he wanted to do. And he didn’t ask anybody else to join him. He did it in the most peaceful manner I’ve ever seen someone stand up and do something. So I can respect that."
Unlike NFL players, NBA players are contractually obligated to stand up during the playing of the national anthem. James noted that videos of recent police shootings have him fearful should one of his children be pulled over by a cop.
"I’m not that confident that things are going to go well and my son is going to return home," he said.
James said that while he didn't plan to protest, he wants the conversation to continue.
"I’m not up here saying that all the police are bad, because they’re not," he said. "I’m not up here saying all kids are great and all adults are great, because they’re not. But at the same time, all lives do matter. It’s not just about black or white; it’s everyone."
Read more at the Chicago Sun-Times.