Although Colin Kaepernick initiated his peaceful protest against police brutality almost two years ago, it continues to incite national dialogue.
Former NBA star Kobe Bryant recently sat down with The Undefeated‘s Jemele Hill. The two discussed whether the former Los Angles Lakers player would partake in the protests that have swept the league.
“Yeah, I would have participated in it, for sure. I’m sure I would have gotten some flak for it. That’s fine,” he told Hill. “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.”
Whereas the NFL is seemingly punishing Kaepernick for using his voice, the NBA has historically been more supportive of its players who choose to stand for something. In September, Golden Warriors head coach Steve Kerr weighed in on the controversy surrounding the resurgence of the protests after Trump belittled players who sit out of the national anthem.
“Our guys, I think, have made their feelings pretty clear about things that are happening and I’m very proud of the work that they do in the community. It’s amazing the amount of good deeds our players do,” Kerr said. “We don’t need to please anybody. No matter what you do, we’re going to take criticism. … As long as we continue to work and compete, and they’re contributing to society in a lot of great ways, that should be enough.”
Bryant said if he were to have partaken in protests, he would expect public backlash but be met with encouragement from teammates.
“From my experience in the locker room, it doesn’t seem like any of the players that I played with certainly would have had an issue with that. I think we understand this is a free country,” Bryant continued. “I think we have the right to peaceful protest.”