Colin Kaepernick has started a national conversation about race relations and police brutality in the country by kneeling during the National Anthem before games. Kaepernick has gained support from several players around the NFL and from Adam Jones in the MLB. The question now is whether NBA players are going to join in the conversation.
The Oklahoma City Thunder’s Victor Oladipo spoke with Complex Sports and said he believes that some NBA players will continue the protests that Kaepernick started.
“Oh, no question. I truly believe it will. Because at the end of the day it’s a sport, and people are gonna be looking at some guys in the NBA to see what they’re gonna do as well,” said Oladipo. “At the end of the day you just control what you can control, so your opinion is your opinion, that’s the beauty of the United States, so, do whatever you feel is best that will help you do whatever you believe.”
Carmelo Anthony already spoke about police violence in an Instagram post earlier this month where he asked his fellow athletes to “step up and take charge.” In July, he got on stage with Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James to lead off the ESPYs with a talk about the same issues.
Oladipo said he hadn’t talked to his teammates yet, but he’s had a lot of conversations about the topic.
“[I haven’t talked to my teammates] yet, but a few people just in general I’ve had conversations with about that, I tell ‘em the same thing, people’s beliefs are people’s beliefs, you know what I mean, you can only control so much, you can only control what you can control, and the most things you can control is yourself. So whatever you believe, believe into the utmost. But I think definitely, we’ll see a few guys in the NBA doing the same thing.”
There has already been support from the NBA for Kaepernick’s protest. Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Jabari Parker have all said that they’re supportive of what the San Francisco quarterback is doing. Grizzlies head coach David Fizdale also came in support of Kaepernick by calling out his critics, according to The Memphis Commercial Appeal.
“You notice that all the critics who come out are people who aren’t impacted by it, or who don’t understand it, and they’re talking about this is a distraction to my team? You don’t get it,” said Fizdale. “It’s up to us to make them get it and make them understand what these young guys are standing up for. It’s bigger than a sport, it’s bigger than a basketball game, it’s bigger than a football game; it’s about people’s rights, it’s about equality.”
With the NBA’s training camp and preseason right around the corner, it won’t be long before we see how the league and its players respond to or add onto what Kaepernick has done.