Kobe Bryant Would Have Protested During National Anthem If He Wasn’t Retired
"I'm sure I would have gotten some flak for it.”
If there’s any question as to where Kobe Bryant falls in regards to the biggest social justice protests in sports history, he’s finally putting speculation to rest.
The former NBA player recently shared his thoughts on the peaceful demonstration launched by Colin Kaepernick, and revealed that if he wasn't retired from basketball he would have joined others in protesting when the national anthem is performed at games.
“Yeah, I would’ve participated in it for sure,” Bryant told ESPN’s Jemele Hill for The Undefeated’s Dear Black Athlete special that debuted on Sunday (Feb. 11). "I'm sure I would have gotten some flak for it. That's fine.”
For the uninformed, Bryant added that he believes Kap’s message was a very simple: “Police brutality needs to stop,” he said. “We need to take a look at that."
Bryant also detailed how his teammates would have responded to him taking a stand for social justice. “From my expense in the locker room it doesn’t seem like any players that I’ve played with certainly would’ve had issue with that.”
“We have the right to protest,” Bryant continued. “From my point of view, that’s what the flag represents as well: the ability to speak, the ability to voice your opinion. Everybody’s entitled to that.”
Despite support from athletes, musicians, politicians and fans, Kaepernick’s decision to take a knee during the anthem has affected his football career. He hasn’t been signed to a team since opting out of his 49ers contract last year, and he's currently suing the NFL for collusion.
Watch Bryant's interview below.
— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) February 12, 2018