Colin Kaepernick Rumors
Now-retired NBA legend Kobe Bryant said Sunday that if he was still playing basketball he would have followed in Colin Kaepernick’s footsteps and take a knee during the national anthem. Bryant, speaking to The Undefeated’s Jemele Hill, said he still would have protested despite the backlash. “Yeah, I would have participated in it, for sure,” Bryant said. “I’m sure I would have gotten some flak for it. That’s fine. I think that Colin’s message was a very simple one. It was police brutality needs to stop. We need to take a look at that.”
Colin Kaepernick this month is wrapping up his “Million Dollar Pledge” to more than 40 charitable organization all over the country — and he’ll have some help from a couple Warriors megastars making donations. Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry have both pledged $10,000 to Kaepernick’s cause, matching his donations to organizations in the Bay Area.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: But America has changed and with that change we are seeing a shifting away from hoisting football on our collective shoulders. Although football remains our most popular professional sport, that popularity has been declining over the past five years, from 67% saying they were fans in 2012, to 57% in 2017. Professional baseball has also fallen 2% during that time. However, professional basketball has risen 3%. Before anyone starts blaming Colin Kaepernick, let’s remember that he first took a knee in 2016 and that the fan base erosion had already been strong several years before that.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: The NBA has been more tolerant of its players’ freedom of speech. Players and coaches from many teams have silently protested and spoken out to the press. LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Jarrett Jack, Alan Anderson, Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett and others wore “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts during warm-ups in 2014 to protest the death of unarmed Eric Garner by police. Steph Curry and Kevin Durant continue to speak out. Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy has said that protesting athletes are “models of American patriotism”. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich echoed that sentiment when he said that his players have “the organization’s full support to speak their minds”. Has speaking out affected ratings? This year the NBA, despite its protests, has increased its TV ratings by 32%, while the NFL’s viewership dropped from 16.5m viewers last year to 15m this year.
Add LeBron James to the chorus of Colin Kaepernick supporters in the sports world who believe the former San Francisco 49ers is being blackballed by the NFL because of his role in popularizing player protests before games.