Doc Rivers grew up the son of a police officer. But that doesn’t mean he blindly supports law enforcement in the wake of all the deadly violence against the black community. Just the opposite, in fact.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has started a bit of a revolution in the world of professional sports. Since he decided to take a knee during the national anthem prior to a preseason game, numerous athletes have followed his lead. With basketball season looming, it begs the question of just how widespread that trend will be among NBA superstars, many of whom have become more and more outspoken about the issue.
Rivers, for one, not only supports his players’ ability to exercise their First Amendment rights; he wants his entire team to stand together in solidarity if and when they do. Via Dan Woike of the Orange County Register:
“Listen, we need social change. If anyone wants to deny that, they just need to study the history of our country,” he told the Southern California News Group on Friday. “… I’ve said it 100 times. There’s no more American thing to do than to protest. It’s the most patriotic thing we can do. There are protests I like and protests I don’t like. It doesn’t matter…Protests are meant to start conversation. The conversation, you hope, leads to acknowledgement, and the acknowledgement leads to action. We’re, right now, still in the conversation.”
“I hope we do it as a group. I know whenever you protest as one solid group, the protest has more teeth if you want to protest,” he said. “… I’m supporting our guys’ right to protest. I’m saying that up front. My hope is you believe it and do it for the right reasons and not just because it’s a hot topic on Instagram. I hope it’s in your heart and you believe in it. If it’s something in your heart, who am I to tell you not to stand up for what you think is morally right?”
The NBA has always been the most progressive of the four major American sports, but it’s hard to predict the fallout that will surely accompany such a divisive stance. Still, it’s just the latest signal that modern athletes are increasingly more concerned with the moral and ethical implications surrounding these complex social issues than how it will affect their brand or image.