National Anthem protesting has been dominating the headlines since the beginning of the NFL season. Unfortunately since official NBA play is starting, the likelihood that the contagion will spread is highly likely.
Like the NFL, the NBA also has a policy that requires players to stand for the National Anthem. Even though Commissioner Adam Silver has said that he expects players to abide by it, we all know that there is more than likely going to be some question as to whether players are going to use the anthem as a platform for social grievances
However, two outspoken NBA legends — Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley — dismissed the protests earlier this week during a segment on “NBA on TNT,” where both players are analysts.
“I’m sick of hearing about the anthem protests,” said Barkley, most famous for his time with the Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns. “We’re all in this thing together. It ain’t a black or white thing. It ain’t a cop against people. It’s all of us.”
O’Neal — who won championships with both the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat — agreed.
“I agree with Chuck — enough talking. When are we going to do something about it? The problem has been … when you allow people to deviate from what you’re trying to do, then they can create other problems.”
As for the idea that the anthem protests aren’t meant to disrespect the anthem or the flag, Shaq dispelled that notion rather quickly.
“They always say, ‘We’re not disrespecting the flag.’ But when you allow people to say you are disrespecting the flag by doing it during the national anthem, is the message really being heard?
“So now, like Chuck has said, enough talking. Let’s just get something done (and) make this world a better place,” Shaq concluded.
Once again, if these sports players believe airing their grievances makes the world a better place, there are a plethora of other opportunities to do such that do not involve the game, or our National Anthem.
Shaq and Sir Charles got it absolutely right.
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