David West Was Protesting The National Anthem Long Before Colin Kaepernick

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The NBA preseason has begun, which means that players are beginning to show how they will respond to Colin Kaepernick’s protest of the national anthem. Warriors power forward David West isn’t worried about that, though. He’s been quietly protesting the national anthem for years.

West told the Undefeated that as long as he can remember, he has stood separate from his team in the back of their line while the anthem played as a way to reflect his dissatisfaction with blacks’ place in the United States. However, unlike Kaepernick, West does so for his own conscience, rather than to call attention or raise awareness to the issue.

He has a few years on Colin, so he’s less enthusiastic that any changes will be made — but that doesn’t mean he’s not willing to lay down some knowledge.

“What about education? What about infant mortality? How about how we die younger and our babies die sooner?” power forward West told The Undefeated after the Warriors’ 97-93 preseason loss to the Toronto Raptors in Vancouver, British Columbia. “We die. [Black men] have the shortest life expectancy. C’mon, man. The health-care system? There are so many [issues]. It’s like, whatever …

“I can’t start talking about civic issues. I can’t start talking about civility and being a citizen if m—–f—— don’t even think I’m a human being. How can you talk about progress and how humans interrelate with one another when you don’t even recognize our humanity? We got to somehow get that straight first so we’re on the same playing field. And that’s how I feel. There is just a lot of stuff, man.”

Although Kaepernick’s protest is important and significant (mostly because he’s followed it up by giving back to the community), West’s viewpoint is reflective of an even deeper understanding of the issue. People of color are disadvantaged in countless ways both large and small, overt and subtle, and the more one is made aware of that machinery, the less optimistic they sound that anything can be done. West has done a lot for those less fortunate than him in his own right, and his form of protest is just as valuable as any other.

(Via The Undefeated)