Kirsters Baish| Since NFL players have decided to kneel during the National Anthem by the masses, everyone has put their two cents in when it comes to the First Amendment. Many celebrities have come forward in support of NFL players who are crying racial inequality in America, however, there are some big names who are not in support of protesting the National Anthem. The NBA has not yet sunk to the level of the NFL in terms of anthem protests. There are some teams in professional basketball who have decided to link arms during the anthem to show their support for “the cause,” but very few have actually taken a knee.
While working on the set of TNT’s “Inside The NBA” pregame show, former NBA players Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley were asked a very interesting question, and fans were on the edge of their seats to hear their responses. They were asked how they would personally approach the National Anthem if they were still in the NBA today.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) October 17, 2017
Shaq explained, without hesitation, that he would definitely be standing for the National Anthem.
He stated, “When you do it at a moment during the National Anthem — and I know people say it’s not about the flag — but when you do it in that moment, there’s a large majority of people that say you are disrespecting the flag and they won’t even listen to your conversation.” He continued on to say, “When you give people a choice to listen or not to listen, they’re always going to go to the excuses.”
Shaq is a 15-time NBA All-Star. His own stepfather was an Army sergeant in the United States military. He explained that when someone decides to kneel during the National Anthem, people will not listen to your argument because “if you disrespect the flag, I’m not gonna listen to you.”
Each of the analysts on the show stated that the only way to properly and effectively protest is in a peaceful, but also respectful manner.
O’Neil also explained that he would “try to do it much bigger” by possibly holding his own press conferences much like successful social activists in the past.
Shaq continued on to explain his point of view further, stating “When I always look at the photos of Jim Brown, Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, they held a press conference and they made their case known. I would do it like that. Because when you do it like, respectfully, people have no choice but to listen.”
When it was Barkley’s turn to respond to the same question, he explained that a huge issue with protesting the National Anthem is that it hasn’t accomplished anything.
“I’m sick of hearing about protests. It’s time for us to push some action,” Barkley stated. “I’m proud of the NFL players for finally getting together with the owners today, talking about prison reform and things like that.”
He wasn’t done there, however. Barkley continued on to say, “We have spent so much time, worrying about who’s kneeling and who’s got the fist up, and we have not come up with solutions. So, I’m sick of hearing about the anthem protests… Everybody! We’re all in this together. It ain’t a black or white thing. It ain’t a cop against people. It’s all of us. Man, we gotta start putting our money where our mouth is.”
These two former NBA players make a really good point. What good is a protest if no one wants to listen to what you have to say? Doesn’t it defeat the whole purpose of protesting? These NFL players would be better off putting their money where their mouth is and donating to causes and spending time helping kids in inner cities. It’s time for the protests to stop and for Americans to start showing some respect to our country.