Kobe Bryant’s career didn’t end gracefully.
He was a horribly inefficient player on an awful Lakers team. Sadly, his transition to retirement hasn’t quite been graceful, either.
Bryant chose to speak out on the anti-American NFL anthem protests, and his comments were ludicrous.
Bryant said he would’ve joined the protest. There’s just one problem: the NBA requires all of its players to stand for the National Anthem.
Kobe Bryant hasn’t said too much about anything but basketball, since retiring from the game in 2016. However, that all changed when he sat down for an interview with ESPN.
Bryant recently spoke with former SportsCenter and current Undefeated writer, Jemele Hill. Bryant told Hill that he would have protested the anthem if he were still playing.
“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.”
Bryant also said that he believes the protests would have gone over fine in NBA locker-rooms.
“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,” he said. “I think we understand this is a free country. I think we have the right to peaceful protest.”
However, despite Bryant’s bold proclamations about protesting, if he wanted to mimic Colin Kaepernick’s protest he wouldn’t have been able to do it in the NBA. The league has had a rule requiring players to stand for the anthem, dating back to the early nineties.
Bryant knows this of course, which makes his statement to Hill nothing but mere grand standing. After all, the NBA has no shortage of players who supported Colin Kaepernick and oppose President Trump, Steph Curry and LeBron James, the two biggest stars in the league, just to name two. Doesn’t it seem odd that neither of them have protested?
That’s because it’s against the rules.
The NBA instituted its National Anthem rule when point guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (who converted to Islam early in his career) refused to stand for the anthem and was suspended for a game.
Abdul-Rauf’s sentiment was expressly anti-American, as was Colin Kaepernick’s.
[Abdul-Rauf] also was confounding in ways that seemed to undermine his reason or message of hopefulness, whether indulging conspiracy theories (9/11 was an “inside job”), or insisting he’s owed an apology and possibly money because he had been blackballed by the NBA, or suggesting that our current civilization could be headed for a collapse akin to the Roman Empire.
Increasingly, he viewed the anthem and the flag as purely American symbols that were not inclusive — neither religiously nor politically. As he would say later, in the midst of explaining his position, “I’m a Muslim first and a Muslim last. My duty is to my creator, not to nationalistic ideology.” That ideology, he would remind people, had supported slavery and been integral to oppressing African-Americans. He viewed it, too, through the prism of the rise of Israel in the Middle East and, thus, a subjugation of Muslims.
Abdul-Rauf’s views are asinine. He mentions America’s history of slavery but doesn’t mention the brutal Barbary slave trade perpetrated by Muslims.
He also said America wasn’t inclusive religiously, but it’s one of the most religiously pluralistic societies on Earth. Meanwhile, Islamic theocracies are almost 100% Muslim with a handful of non-Muslims treated as second-class citizens (which is codified into law).
Abdul-Raul, as well as Kaepernick, indict America for sins other countries commit in far greater numbers.
If this is what Kobe Bryant supports, he’s completely out of touch.